34 thoughts on “

  1. Baaron Michael SMS, WhatsApp, FB, social media etc for messaging. (That one is old news.) Slack, Quip, etc for work. Desktop/push notifications for, um, notifications. Social media for marketing/promotions.
    Maybe the only remaining email use cases are “official correspondence” – financial statements, job applications, etc – and spam? Just like snail mail!

  2. Note the suposed replacements are non-persistent in the sense that I cannot reliably maintain an archive of my correspondence over the long term, as they all depend on somebody’s servers being up and maintaining the data in the long term. (#sitedeath anybody?) I agree with you that e-mail sorely needs a replacement, but IMHO none of those is it.

  3. This means we will go from a relatively open system which anyone can host and everyone is universally addressable to one where there is one guardian per channel, the channel can really die and not everyone is on it or uses it. Yay.

  4. true! i’m just describing the current reality, not condoning it. feel free to advocate for jabber, IRC, matrix, or any other open/standard alternatives!

  5. I see a lasting benefit to e-mail in business correspondence. It allows for better documentation and easier filing and retrieval than other options like Webex. But it’s my very least favorite option for personal correspondence.

  6. of course! it took decades for email to become ubiquitous; it will take decades for it to die. i do suspect that if you get lunch in 20 years, though, you won’t do it over email.

  7. Coincidentally I was thinking of the same thing today. I no longer feel the ‘urge’ to check my email in the morning since I know nothing of urgency would be there. It is kind of sad though on several levels. 1. The trend makes us communicate in short sentences. With the death of snal mail and now email, our communication is reduced to 140 chars. 2. We as a society are moving at an alarming rate towards instant gratification. We are losing patience with ourselves and others. The new age communication tools makes it so hard for people to wait for a response..

  8. Email is alive, and required, for open source communities. Group discussion is needed, as Johannes notes: archives are needed, and ubiquity is needed for ease of participation. Zero of the alternatives you mention satisfy all of those requirements.
    Heh. I would posit that email led to those open source communities, which in turn led to all of those alternatives. They could not exist without the underlying open source projects, and the email [lists] which supported and built those technologies.

  9. agreed! for the most part. i’d reiterate my earlier comment though: 20 years from now, if you participate in open source, you probably won’t do it over email.

  10. Email is one way for open source communities to communicate. An even better way is what we’re doing over at Indie Web Camp. We intentionally have no email list, instead we use IRC (with web and Slack gateways) for day to day discussion, and anything important gets categorized and archived on the wiki. This leads to better organization of information over the long term (have you ever tried to actually go find something in email list archives?) as well as provides a better medium for quick conversation.

  11. Aaron: IRC is not archived. curating the list onto the Wiki is insufficient (IMO). Most communities won’t take the time, so it won’t be done. The mailing list archive will always be canonical.

  12. Greg Stein Our IRC chat is archived at https://indiewebcamp.com/irc/today which is also where you can join the chat room from the web page. (You can also join via Slack, we like to give people many options.)
    > Most communities won’t take the time
    We have 5+ years of taking the time to archive the important pieces in the wiki, so take that for what you will. I think it’s a sign of the strength of a community if people care enough to do that.

  13. I actually care less what it is, as long as i can have a unified inbox which stores its data on a hard drive I control. Sadly, we seem to be getting further and further away from that.

  14. Aaron: I agree that is a sign of the strength of a community. Very good! … for that community.
    OSS communities come in varying strengths, however. The strong will always have the features that I noted. I believe the “default toolset” should accommodate the weakest so that we do not lose history around any project. I’ve seen projects just disappear: no discussion archives, no release tarballs, no wikis … nothing.
    I’m not really sure we’re at a disagreement here. It’s just that I’ve built a hosting platform before, and one of our goals was archival, as we’d seen that disappearance before. (and thankfully, when it shut down, Google decided to keep it in archival, too)

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