My Crazy Prediction?

In September 2008 I made a prediction, that email as we know it today will no longer exist in 10 years time.

Read The Death Of Email by 2018

Will I be proved to be a:
or Fool?

Time Remaining:


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Disclaimer: The views expressed on stopthinksocial are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Strategic advice and experience on making the most of  being social in the workplace

Entries in evolution (3)


Social Collaboration - Evolution or Revolution? (#SWChat)

Thanks to everyone who took part in this weeks Social Workplace Twitter Chat event (#SWChat).

Social Collaboration - Evolution or Revolution?

Social collaboration is fast becoming the norm in business but is it evolution or a revolution? This event discussed which it is and why.

Event Statistics

  • No. of Tweets = not available
  • No. of Contributors = 33
  • Reach = 99,409
  • No. of impressions = 807,729


Top 20 Tweets

Questions Asked

Q1) How do you interpret the term social collaboration ?
Q2) How does social collaboration differ from social networking ?
Q3) What impact is social collaboration having on knowledge exchange ?
Q4) Does management fear or embrace social collaboration ?
Q5) How does social collaboration impact productivity and efficiency in the workplace ?
Q6) Does social collaboration breed innovation ?
Q7) Is social collaboration in the workplace natural evolution or a work style revolution ?

Shared Reference Material


Useful #SWChat Links

Next Event | Schedule | Reminders | Archive | Advisors | Q&A | About


The Death of Email by 2018

By 2018 email as we know it today will be a thing of the past. Will I be proved to be a:

Time Remaining:

In September 2008 I predicted the death of email as we know it within 10 years, to be replaced by something more collaborative in the social world we now find ourselves living in.

When I first made this death of email prediction people laughed in my face, literally.

Don't get me wrong I don't dislike email, it's a great linear communication tool but it has limitations in today's world particularly when we talk about collaboration.

Does this sound all too familiar?

An email arrives in your inbox that has been sent to 30+ people asking for feedback on the attached PowerPoint presentation. Person A responds with a 'reply to all' message with their feedback. Person B comments on their feedback with a 'reply to all'. Person C responds with a 'reply to all' adding their feedback on the presentation. Person C also responds with a 'reply to all' commenting on the feedback of Person A and Person B and so it goes on.... Before you know it there is a discussion going on in your inbox and you now have 50 unread emails that were not there when your meeting first started an hour ago.

Factoid: According to the Radicati Group, the average corporate user sends and receives 110 emails a day. If we say it takes on average 90 seconds to either read or write an email, that equates to 2 hours 45 mins a day or nearly 14 hours a week on email.

I spend more time on email than I do with my family.

These days companies are always looking to increase productivity of their employees and for them to be more efficient, whilst needing to communicate and collaborate more easily. Spending 14 hours a week on email is no longer an acceptable working practice.

Was the Death of Email crazy prediction really that crazy?

Let's be clear, life did exist before email and businesses did function (I know the thought of the death of email brings some of you out in a cold sweat).

If you look how technology has evolved over the last forty years since email was introduced, and how it has influenced behavioural changes in the way we communicate and collaborate, it stands to reason that at some time in the near future email will become a thing of the past.

If we only look back five years to July 2006, the first tweet was sent which begun to evolutionise how we communicate. Today there are over 200 million users generating in excess of 200 million tweets a day and handling over 1.6 billion search queries a day on Twitter. This is being used by many as an alternative communication channel (not replacement) to company emails.

Facebook was opened to the public in September 2009. Three years later it has 200 million users and today it has reached over 600 million users. It has also recently introduced an alternative to email that they brand as "definitely not email".

Google Wave came and went in 2009/2010 but the concept of an alternative to email was born. A lot of media hype around the failure of this was down to product and the fact that people didn't get it. However there are other allegedly conspiracy theories around this, one being that it was pulled by Google because they felt it was competing against it's own Gmail product. Personally, I think they just under-estimated the cultural change of such an innovative concept.

Google+ (Google Plus) is the latest social platform currently in soft launch mode and soon to be released, which could see it also competing against the standard email.

Maybe the death of email is not as far away as we think....

Check out this incredible video by Red Sky Vision who have talked to a number of companies (Able and How, CorpComms Magazine, Melcrum, Headshift to name a few) about how social media in the workplace is changing their communications:

The speed at which new social technologies are being introduced is growing exponentially and it won't be long before the replacement for email will arrive (or maybe it already has).

For me personally, I cannot wait until that day and stand by my crazy prediction that this will happen before the end of 2018.


Is reducing costs the key driver for social media?

Having a social platform to allow employees to connect and collaborate better will improve the knowledge flows of an organisation. It will allow companies to utilise the collective intelligence of its own employees to crowdsource and solve key business issues.

But in the current economic climate, companies are starting to think more about how to reduce costs. Is social media the answer? Kathi Browne of Wingspouse Publishing raises a good point on the subject:

"Interestingly, it is usually cost that is holding companies back. They see a potential cost to the man hours needed to learn / participate in social media and don't have a clear way to measure the return."

And maybe this is the problem. Companies are too focused on how to measure the ROI of social media and forget that actually this is just a natural form of business evolution. With over 500 million users of Facebook and 100 million users on LinkedIn, it's a fair bet to say that many of your employees are already using social media as part of their everyday lives. So surely it stands to reason that this will become embedded as part of how we communicate and collaborate in business? Kees Vogelsang agrees:

"Given the fact that more and more people are using many tools already for personal usage it is becoming easier to implement social media. And ... there is no way back. Ultimately these tools will be embraced everywhere, just like mobile phones."

So for those companies that are making the transition and investing in social media, if costs are not the key driver then what is it that is encouraging this cultural change? Andy Jankowski of Enterprise Strategies puts it simply and succinctly:

I am seeing a few companies embrace enterprise social media to reduce costs, but not as many as I would have originally thought. It seems the main driver of companies making the Enterprise Social Media investment is simply changing the way their company works (e.g., more collaborative, less siloed, etc.). These types of improvements, while valued by the c-suite, are often hard to justify with numbers. I am seeing many more contextual examples being put forth than detailed ROI studies.

And this is where companies will have the greatest success with social media. The focus shouldn't be on reducing costs per se but more on the business benefits of better collaboration. We also mustn't forget that employees are working more and more remotely these days and social media can play a vital role in keeping employees connected.

Companies do need to start looking at evolving from a knowledge management organisation to a knowledge sharing one, using social technologies as the enabler to build that social business infrastructure. However, the cultural change in this transition should not be under-estimated or ignored and needs to be incorporated as part of the transitional strategy.

So is social media in the workplace a key driver for reducing costs? It will certainly influence the reduction of costs, but it should never be the main focus for creating The Social Workplace. The main focus should be the evolution of a company to provide more and better collaboration opportunities and increase knowledge sharing.