Social media killed the email star


For many people, the working day is governed by the constant flow of inbound and outbound emails. It forms the basis of office communication and is the blood that runs through the veins of any corporation as they collaborate internally or share information with clients.

According to Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, the average business user receives between 100-120 emails a day – this equates to 182 billion sent worldwide on a daily basis.

Sorting through the colossal trail of messages and arranging them into important, useful and spam can be an extremely painful task. There is no greater feeling of despair than logging on to find a barrage of emails on a Monday morning, or the irritation of getting caught up in the CC of a useless rally of conversation. And it is because of this data overload that large proportions of important information can go unseen. In turn, missed responses can affect business efficiency and, in some cases, lead to missed opportunities.

One research study estimates that the average ’knowledge worker’ spends 28{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} of the working week sifting and responding to emails. Although it is a basic necessity of almost every business, the problematic issue of productivity raises disputes surrounding the future of email in the workplace. So, if there was another way to remain in conversation with all of our key business contacts without the snags, why would we not switch?

As technology advances, so too does the expectation of efficiency. Arguably the biggest advance in communication technology has to be the introduction and rapid progression of social media. In the consumer sphere, our personal lives are run through social channels and now, businesses are realising this communicative potential. Some have even begun to replace the use of email in the office with business focused sites such as Chatter (from Salesforce) and Yammer.

These sites allow for a far more collaborative and efficient approach to communication between business contacts, both internally and with clients. Messages can be seen by all or selected associates, as well as the benefit of documents being saved and shared in the cloud so that they can be accessed remotely. The message only has to be put out once and important pieces of information will be prioritised by the interaction with other contacts. It removes the heaps of replies of the same email and the backward and forwards bouncing of messages between large groups of recipients.

The potential for sharing useful information with not only colleagues but other business personnel on a global scale allows for collaboration possibilities that are far more adept than those of email. Think about it like this – do you arrange a party by email, or on Facebook? If the answer is Facebook, why wouldn’t you rather arrange a conference call with 30 people involved, or the review of a piece of important copy, on one simple social stream?

Let’s not write email off just yet – it isn’t going away and these business-focused social media sites do pose issues, not least in terms of compatibility between platforms and who has access to what. But as technology and social media marches further into the business world, the frequency with which we use of these sites will no doubt surpass that of email. Just as the text and the email have largely replaced the letter, before too long our once good friend will no doubt become a thing of the past.