Should companies depreciate email?

Todays post is about electronic mail. It occurred to me, that I might be writing to the generation 40+. Everyone from 13-30s think they have it all figured out, especially in regards to computers.

Lots of companies depreciate the use of email. An argument I’ve heard often is: «But, the young generation today doesn’t use email, they use the hippest social media tool around!». Another argument is: «our employees spend too much time reading, sorting and answering mail».

Well, I like email. For me it is all about using the right tool for the job. I won’t use email for collaborating on a document, we have file repositories for that. I wouldn’t use it for marketing, as we have social media for this. On the other hand, email is a very versatile tool. It is widespread, and although it has its flaws, email is used by everyone and every company.

We do spend a lot of time organizing and answering e-mails. In my opinion it is because it has become a part of how we communicate at work. Email will not die for a very long time. The key is knowing when to send a mail, and when not to. Read through your email before you send it (link in norwegian). Lastly, use automated email sorting rules, and sort your inbox. In my opinion, the inbox should have less then 20 emails. The rest is sorted into folders.

I might be old and dull in the sense that I often prefer email communication. I do have my own blog, and I even use IRC from time to time. Yes, IRC, you know the old chat protocol one could use, which didn’t involve in sending all your personal information to third party advertisers.

Note, I do use social sites when I’m off work. Mostly, to keep up with companies I like. For example, I follow Tim Wendelboe (coffee roaster), and lots of artists, so I get the news on what’s up. By the way, Guy Kawasaki has written a book (excerpt in link) for reaching those hip-young-curling-generation, and not to seem clueless on social sites.