It’s only a matter of time.
The inbox – and email – are already beginning to fade into obsolesce. And within the next decade email may join the Bali Tiger and the King Island Emu on the extinction list.
Forrester Research last week released a report that outlines a big reason why. By 2014, companies will be spending $2 billion a year to send the average person more than 9,000 marketing emails. That’s 25 emails per day – just from marketers.
And this doesn’t even include unwanted and malicious spam. Google has estimated that an unprotected inbox in 2008 would have received more than 45,000 unwanted emails – about 123 spam messages a day. The only good news is that by 2014 most people will have probably abandoned their inboxes. Or at least have been forced to add so many spam filters that only select groups of associates and friends will be allowed to send them email.
The fact is: email has already become difficult to manage.
Here are five reasons why more people will begin to migrate away from email and the concept of an inbox.
1. There’s not a lot of hard data to back it up, but the average worker is now said to change jobs 14-21 times in their lifetime. That’s a lot of movement – and a lot of new email addresses. Trying to reach colleagues (and former colleagues) through email addresses is proving to be a difficult challenge. So why bother trying to keep up? Isn’t it easier just to find them on LinkedIn or Facebook? Those are permanent addresses for them – and those sites contain the most update information for reaching them.
2. Spam filters are losing the battle against unwanted emails. In order to win the fight, filters are forced to use stricter protocols – which then mistakenly capture email that you want to get. Trying to wade through and sort unwanted emails – especially if you are using a mobile device – wastes precious time. As spam increases, our tolerance for it decreases and eventually email users will begin to move more quickly to better communication solutions.
3. Closed systems like Facebook and LinkedIn offer multiple ways to communicate. Facebook gives users an opportunity to reach out through wall messages, a hosted inbox and a chat function. Facebook also allows users to know if their colleague or friend is currently using the application (an easy way to tell if they are in). It is also a spam free environment (so far!).
4. The increase in the proliferation of mobile phones – nearly one billion sold every year – make it much easier to reach people through a quick call than through email. But mobile phones in the hands of every corporate worker also makes it simple to send text messages. There is a whole generation of teenagers that will soon be entering the workforce that have grown up communicating almost exclusively through SMS rather than email.
5. Cloud computing – storing valuable data and applications in a hosted environment – is already creating virtual offices on protected tracts of the internet. Communicating and sharing in a centralized location is faster, more efficient and safer than constantly “sending” each other messages, documents and information. Email messages can be intercepted and email still remains the most dangerous access point for viruses and malicious software.
What about you? How much are you relying on your inbox for communicating with colleagues and friends? Do more of your communications now take place on social networking sites?