Is Email Fundamentally Broken?

Nick Bilton over at the New York Times believes email is dysfunctional beyond repair. He says no amount of filtering can block out unwanted noise, replying to everyone you should reply to can be exhausting, and social network are easier and more intuitive to use.

Thus, the only solution might be to use email less and tweet or Facebook more. Is it time to give up on email? [NYT]

Image: Shutterstock/PaulPaladin


    He must be one of those poor suckers that bought facebook shares.

      Facebook is the dysfunction IMO.

        +1 Got it in one.

        It seems that the source of the profound wisdom in this article is a teenage cousin, who thinks that email is for "old people" because the messages are "too long." In essence, the cousin's attention span is too short for anything longer than a 140-character tweet. Sound like someone you want to learn life's lessons from?

        Email is a vital part of modern corporate life, and it's a requirement of our modern existence that we can effectively manage an inbox. There are many emails which can be safely ignored and/or deleted, others can be flagged for a more careful read later, and some may require immediate action.

        Yes, it can be difficult to manage at times. But it's a very powerful tool as well, and if the alternative is chaos and poor communication, I'll take an overflowing inbox every time.

        Social media has yet to make a compelling case for existing IMO.

    Until business has a viable alternative to email it'll never die... Social Media Emailing just won't make an impact into business as there needs to be an audit trail. IMHO

    The reason people don't reply to the emails they should be is because they are wasting too much time on Twitter and Facebook...

    Social networks exist only to gather data on the user and sell it in one form or another for profit. Email doesn't leak your personal information all over the internet. If it's free, you are the product.

      My email IS free.

        Webmail is typically just as bad as social networking in regards to data collection/advertising - check the privacy agreement you clicked past sometime.

    I hate these kinds of stories, everyone bemones how broken and awful something so simple is. The fact is email has been around for over 30 years now. Email servers have improved massively since email was first created. Yes email has issues, but so does every other system, and its always a matter of time before the scum element turn their attentions to the next/current way of communications.

    Do you really think that Facebook and Twitter are suitable forms of professional communications? Besides using social networks for communication is far from secure, and is probably the worst way of communicating if you need to keep things private and in confidence. Just proves yet again that journalists from tabloids and newspapers are almost completely out of touch with the actual world they live in.

    Social networks are repositories for spam, garbage and every other digital nasty the world contains. At least filtering works to a degree on email. Email will survive. Unfortunately I must assume that social networks will survive too. But not with my help!

    It's funny how we blame technology for our own shortcoming and in the same breath beleive that technology will be able to fix things for us :-) Instead of looking at email as the problem, look at yourself and who you are, the answer is there inside you, not the media.

    Bizarre article. Email doesn't have an off switch? Close the email client. Yes you're still potentially getting mail... but the same is true of pretty much any messaging service as well (unlike the article suggests - just how many require someone to be online? Pretty much zero, and the link in the article makes that point).

    Other messaging options are better because... wait there wasn't actually a reason presented and they have all the same problems. You don't have to respond to it? Yeah no kidding - that's because it's spam. You don't have to respond to spam email either. Given most IM/SM/email etc implementations are basically indistinguishable to the end user (see unified messaging clients etc) I don't see how could anyone argue that only one is "broken" from a usability perspective.

    If you get 6000 emails a month and then switch over entirely to say facebook messaging, what makes you think you won't get 6000 facebook messages a month?

    Yah; email is awsome.

    Sure there is room for improvment but overall its great.

    As someone who writes software that includes a communications system for sending out emails to clients, and some of our clients getting our email servers blocked due to "spam" its really annoying that stupid users click "this is spam" without trying to unsubscribe. They need implement functionality for unsubscribing more easily rather than a big button that says "Click me if you don't want to see this anymore even though you wanted it to begin with, to hell with the people that have to clean up the mess"

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