The German philosopher Nietzsche once said (as I’m sure you remember) “what does not kill me, makes me stronger.”
The Wall Street Journal has never heard this, apparently.
In an article titled Why Email No Longer Rules, the paper opined that:
Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over. In its place, a new generation of services is starting to take hold—services like Twitter and Facebook and countless others vying for a piece of the new world.”
EMAIL’s reign is over? It’s reign over what? Over inane, mindless, useless, idiotic, time-wasting messages?
You know, emails like “thx”, or “k”, or “got it”.
Maybe EMAIL is sad that it has never reigned over messages like “Good morning, Emailville!” or “Eating Fruit Loops for breakfast.”
If I were EMAIL I’d gladly abdicate the throne to not have to rule over banal crap like the messages above.
What the WSJ failed to recognize is that the rise of Twitter and Facebook [potentially] strengthens the role of email from a both a personal and business perspective. With alternative means of communicating, email can (and should) be used for the messages that are most appropriate to the channel.
Which begs the question (that so many among the Twitterati avoid answering): Which messages are most appropriate for Twitter and Facebook?
Clearly not messages that require more than 140 characters. Or require any thought, thinking, or consideration (OK, this point is debatable). Or that might be interpersonal or sensitive in nature (although Gen Yers do appear to be a whole lot less sensitive about what they share about themselves, but this is just my personal observation).
What’s even worse about the proclamations is that it’s still not clear that the younger generations are even using or adopting Twitter. At dinner one night, my 14 year-old daughter asked “What’s Twitter?” to which her 19 year-old sister replied “Instant messaging for Dad’s generation.” Nice.
So if you want to crown a “king of communication” go ahead and give it to whoever you want to give it to. The rise of Twitter and Facebook doesn’t diminish the value of email.