Recognizing The Declining Value Of Email

Many people and businesses rely on email as their dominant method of communication, but the value of email has been declining in recent years and this creates problems on a number of levels particularly for businesses that need to decide what to do about it.

Here are some of the signs from my own experience that indicate the declining value of email.

  • The ratio of deleted to read items – These days I delete more email than I read, particularly on my personal account. The messages that I am deleting are not personal messages though. They are messages sent by businesses with whom I have signed up to receive email, but most of the time I really don’t need what they are selling. I should probably take a few moments to unsubscribe from some of those lists (and sometimes I do) but I think the fact that I don’t bother is another sign of the growing ambivalence toward email.
  • Social network updates eclipsing email updates – Most of the news that I get from friends and family comes via Facebook these days. Many of the professional updates come via LinkedIn.  A few years ago I would get  these updates via email but now everyone expects that you will see their updates. So they don’t bother sending the separate communication via email. I reciprocate by doing the same thing and even use Facebook or LinkedIn direct message because I feel like that type of message is more likely to be seen and responded to.
  • My mobile device is always in hand or nearby – Nowadays it seems like I am never more than a few feet away from my iPhone, which makes it easy to check email but also contains a stream of other updates from push notifications and text messages. So when I pull down from the top of my screen to see all the notifications email is put on the same level as weather updates, sports scores, text messages, news alerts, etc. Even when I’m sitting at my computer with Outlook open I glance at my phone a few times an hour to look at the latest updates.

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