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Emails Declining with the Rise of Social Networking Sites, Texting

Updated on November 17, 2016
janderson99 profile image

John uses his scientific skills (PhD) & experience developing 50+ websites to research, review & evaluate SEO, website design, Social Media

The Email system was created by the baby-boomer generation more than 40 years ago. Just like its creator's generation email now faces a mid-life crisis as younger people use newer types of communication, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Is the email system doomed? Should it be replaced by Social Media? Many employers are finding that their generation Y and Z employees don't use emails and the whole email concept has become tiresome and the inboxes get bloated with lots of irrelevant stuff that takes and hour of more to wade through every morning and dump into the Trash can. Email has replaced verbal communication which is much more effective and less prone to misinterpretation. Emails can lead to the classic 'email wars' when people wage pubic arguments that are 'cc' d to all and sundry. People have been sacked for mistakenly clicking the 'all' button and broadcasting derogatory comments about the boss to all staff in the company, including the boss. Has the email become outdated and largely a waste of time?

Good Filters are the key
Good Filters are the key | Source

Thierry Breton, head of the information technology services giant, Atos, has recently announced he plans to ban internal email by 2014, at the company that employs staff in 42 countries.

He said surveys had shown that reducing internal emails enhanced the quality of conditions at work for the 80,000 employees.

It was part of a strategy called "Wellbeing At Work" designed to enhance working conditions for employees.

His reasons were:

  • Most young people that joined the company did not use email and were unfamiliar with it. Most used instant messaging tools and social networks like Facebook to communicate. Most of them had very little experience with internal email tools like Outlook before joining the company and found it hard to learn and adapt to the email culture.
  • Most of the people in the company were spending an increasing proportion of their time dealing with internal emails and this reduced the time spent on management.
  • Internal research within the company showed that the average number of emails received by each employee was more than 100. Less than 15% of the messages were useful, and the rest were largely irrelevant.
  • The company researched what sort of tools could be used to replace internal emails and what sort of management practices could improve the performance of the company including personal conversations and meetings.
  • The ban does not apply to external emails
  • The company uses a cloud computing environment, instant messaging, social networks, document sharing, micro blogging, knowledge community systems, which provide a much better approach for the information technology company. © janderson99-HubPages

Time Spent on Office Activities
Time Spent on Office Activities

What's wrong with Emails

  • The traditional email is often seen as too formal, cumbersome and slow. For many companies the email traffic is archived and it becomes part of the formal communication system and records. Many people send emails so that they have documentary evidence of decisions and a record or pathway for the communication. This tends to make people very wary of what they say. Once sent emails cannot be deleted. You can try to retract them, but if you have made a mistake this can even make things worse as you broadcast your error.
  • The email tends to replace the simple informal conversation. Often two people who sit next to each other will send emails because they want a formal record of the communication. A simple conservation would be simpler and better with a more conclusive outcome as the details can be discussed and the whole mater resolved in a few minutes rather than taking and hour or more with a series of emails
  • After-hours emails are too intrusive - Volkswagen has decided to prevent its Blackberry servers from transmitting emails to its employees when they were not working. This follows complaints from the staff that their home and work lives were becoming blurred and they did not want to get work emails except if they were on-call or there was an emergency. Under the revised arrangement the email servers stop sending out emails 30 minutes after the end of a shift, and did not start again until 30 minutes before they were due to start the next work shift.
  • There is a lack of notification of receipt and opening of the of the email, unless you specifically ask for it. People send emails and immediately assume you have read them.
  • Social media's strength is that it allows you to communicate with customised groups of people. While you can have email groups, they are not used very often and in the same way. The messages tend to be shorter and much less formal than emails. Because you are communicating with a group, you tend to be careful with what you say.
  • The email system is overloaded and contains heaps of spam, and you have to have filters in place to remove them. However many of your legitimate emails end up in the spam box.
  • Emails are fundamentally one to one messages, whereas the social tools are understood to be more open. The 'cc' tool on an email is often used as a weapon to 'tell on someone' or to start an email war.
  • The 'ALL" button is widely abused. The wrong people have ability to send messages to everyone - it increases their power and authority. Most of the messages you receive are irrelevant and a waste of time. There are better ways of making announcements.
  • Emails are easily misunderstood. People tend to be very guarded about what they say and leave out many of the details. The language used is often general rather than specific. This means that many people 'read between the lines' to fill in the details that are missing. Emails are very easily misinterpreted and misunderstood. People can to be very blunt in emails and include many things that they would not say 'face to face' in a conversation.

© janderson99-HubPages

Digital Mailboxes Replacing Emails

Australia Post and other similar postal services have launched the online letterbox that will allow personal customers and various businesses to get their mail and email type correspondence through an online portal system that is available 24 hours a day. Many businesses are phasing out posting hard copies of bills to their customers to say money, but they are using emails and text messages with attachments which are insecure. Many people risk identity theft through emails. In contrast the Australia Post Digital Mailbox system has end-to-end encryption of all communications. The digital mail box concept is a virtual personal digital vault from which people can upload and find documents ‘posted’ to them by various businesses. The Digital Mailbox is a ‘one stop shop’ system for storage, depositing and retrieval of documents and the bills that can be paid directly using the system. Another advantage is that the user has a readily accessible archive of their relationship with the service provider in a single folder.

Difference between email and social media

© 2011 Dr. John Anderson


Submit a Comment

  • janderson99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Dr. John Anderson 

    5 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

    good point

  • janderson99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Dr. John Anderson 

    5 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

    thanks for your comment


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