Email, a Dying Technology

A friend once told me “A guru is one who advocates common sense…except he makes sense of it before it is common.”. It is easy to look back on hindsight and make remarks how obvious things are but foresights are often not so easy. For instance, no one doubts that Internet is here to stay but just barely 4 years ago, some people still thinks that the Internet is just passing fad.

And cutting-edge technologists normally plays the role of advocating emerging technologies. That role is a difficult one especially new technologies often do not have sustainable evidences. But a even more difficult role for technologist. is when he advocates that an established technology is going to die.

Case in point: Over the last few months, I have been saying to several people (in louder and louder voice) that I believe Email, as we know it, is going to die1. The reaction I got was the expected disbelief and horror! It is an understandable reaction since Email is the most important part of their life. I have the same feeling about Email too…about 10 years ago. Today, I see emergence of other communication tools, like IM and RSS and they are especially popular among teenagers.

Just as teenagers from the early 90s entering the workforce bringing with them the Email culture, teenagers of the late 90s is about to enter the workforce bringing with them the IM culture.

Unfortunately, such demography changes arguements often do not work with die-hard conversative. And at this point, I would borrow a phrase from Doc Searls: “When is the last time you use the fax machine?

1 Of course, I wasn’t the first one to say that Email is dying.

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