I like to consider myself a true connoisseur of irony. So the circumstances regarding a recent article that Product Design & Development's esteemed associate editor Meaghan Ziemba forwarded on was not lost on me.
You see, she e-mailed a collection of editors an article where the author spouted on about the death of e-mail as a form of communication. Hopefully the author also saw the irony/hypocrisy of the fact that the very first icon following the headline offered readers a chance to, yeah, you guessed it – e-mail the article to others.
While I disagree with the author on a number of points, what this ridiculous rant about the death of e-mail really spotlights is society’s giddiness about jumping on the next bandwagon without having their feet securely set on the one already leading the parade. We’re so focused on the latest thing, or in this case, form of communication like Twitter and Facebook, that we can be convinced way too easily that it is automatically better than what we currently have.
So the masses mistakenly rush towards it – abandoning the current generation of product or service that has functioned without issue. Even more dangerous is the fact that this rush to follow the newly anointed leader results in a mass influx of followers who may or may not really understand the impact of such a change.
Look, I have a Facebook page and I know sometime soon I will Twitter. However, these are not replacements for e-mail – they’re simply another way to enhance the functionality of it. Perhaps the author of the above mentioned article forgets that Facebook and Twitter both require an e-mail address in order to even start using the application.
I’m not bashing either, but in order to take full advantage of them, it all starts with an e-mail address. Similarly, the current technologies and design strategies we have in place shouldn’t be abandoned because of new and potentially better approaches. Rather, they should be used as building blocks towards continuously improving what we have.
Also, let’s not forget that neither Facebook or Twitter have been able to turn a single dollar of profit. Until they do, I wouldn’t cash out on Outlook, G-mail or whatever e-mail platform you utilize. Again, it’s not about assessing when to abandon what some “expert” feels is an out-of-date application, but keeping our minds open to embracing new media, ideas and concepts and figuring out the best way to embed them into our current environment.
The parts can be just as valuable as the whole, and innovation can be piece-mailed, or even e-mailed.
What are your thoughts? Send an e-mail to keep the trend alive at firstname.lastname@example.org.