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The Email is Still Alive and Kicking

Picture shows Wilm Tennagel
Wilm Tennagel, MailStore’s Corporate Communications Manager, sings the praises of the email from the confines of his home office.

“Email, it seems, is dead,” said tech editor John Braydon a couple of years ago and he is not alone with his opinion if you search through the internet. But do statistics verify that statement? In Germany, for example, the percentage of the population using the Internet to send and receive emails rose steadily between 2002 and 2019. According to a projection by Radicati Group, this trend holds true across the globe: the number of emails sent and received worldwide is expected to rise from 306.4 billion in 2020 to 361.6 billion in 2024.

Emails are trustworthy

Even in the business world, the email’s popularity is on the rise. In many areas, of course, it has replaced the traditional analog business letter and therefore often contains business-critical information and arrangements. This would normally lead us onto the subject of email archiving, but we won’t delve any deeper at this stage as I want to continue singing the praises of the email for a little longer – and for good reason.

According to the study “E-Mail für Dich 2.0”, a research series on private communication in the DACH region, the email is rated as a reliable and – unlike social media or instant messaging platforms – trustworthy means of communication. This may be partly due to the fact that it has been around for a very long time compared with many other modern forms of communication. Indeed, it celebrates its 50th birthday in 2021 – thereby cementing its place among the “best agers” – and has survived the leap into the mobile era. It is still with us and – judging by the aforementioned predictions of the market analysts – will be for a long time to come.

Plausible reasons for the email’s popularity

There are plausible reasons why electronic mail remains “en vogue”: the service is decentralized and an open standard, regardless of the technology used to read the message itself. The provider can be chosen freely, while both companies and private individuals are even able to operate their own email server.

“Even if you’re a Gmail lover and the recipient is a die-hard Outlook user, you can still send and receive messages. In other words, email has always maintained that core functionality and necessity: open communication.” Dvir Ben Aroya, CEO and Co-Founder, Spike

Unlike many chat programs, email communication can be archived – in a legally compliant manner! Furthermore, the email is multicultural and global. It is deployed the world over, technology permitting. Even if the use of social intranets, collaboration tools etc. is on the rise, I would still classify the email as “basic technology”. How do you sign up to all those different services? With an email address. Moreover, transactional emails and notifications from these services are usually sent by email – which, incidentally, is also one of the reasons for the ever-increasing volume of email traffic.

It goes without saying that the email is not without its problems. Employees of many companies are victims of what is known as the “email overload” phenomenon. It is important to warn users and raise their awareness of phishing and scam emails.

The email is not a social collaboration tool

But is this the fault of electronic mail itself? Isn’t it more to do with the lack of email management, or a corporate culture in which it is common practice, for example, to send messages to as many people as possible in order to “cover your back”? The email is NOT a project management or social collaboration tool. Neither does it lend itself to internal, dialog-oriented communication. At MailStore, for example, we use Microsoft Teams for that sort of thing. The aim here, though, is not to compare and contrast the fundamentals of emails and messenger apps, but more to promote the sensible and purposeful use of communication tools – if possible, in peaceful coexistence. It is particularly important for companies to consider the risks posed by so-called “walled gardens” or services which may cease to operate, potentially leading to a worst-case scenario in which the message is no longer available.

Simply put, the email is a reliable, secure, and purposeful means of communication. This is the case today and will be in the future, because the email’s story is far from over. The email is still very much alive and kicking!

What’s your opinion on the subject? I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments section.

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