April 30, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

The death of email has been greatly exaggerated.

The death of email has been greatly exaggerated.

Another week, another new shiny object introduced, and yet another round of “__________ is dead” discussions.

I really, really dislike the “_______ is dead” meme, and wish it would go away. Unfortunately it won’t.

This week’s entrant is Facebook’s new communications system, which is not as we have repeatedly been told, an email system. Email is dead. Why? Because Mark Zuckerberg talked to his girlfriend’s sister, and she said so. From the Fast Company article (thank you for pointing to this, Scott Monty):

The teens told Zuckerberg it was too much trouble to think of a subject and to compose a formal message. They wanted to communicate more quickly, more casually the way you do in real life. They could do that with text messaging, but email was too cumbersome.

So there you have it! The end of email is nigh. Or not.

Television didn’t kill radio, satellite didn’t kill cable, and social communication won’t kill email. I’m even willing to say that email won’t kill the regular mail, but it might end up a specialized, boutique offering. While it’s entirely possible the methods used to communicate will shift, the only one I can think of off the top of my head that I’ve never seen used is smoke signals. People still send telegrams in some parts of the world, and the Russian spies caught in the US this summer used Morse Code to communicate, along with short-wave radio.

Different types of communications methods will be used in different settings. But I guess that’s a lot less flashier to say than “email is dead.”

Now about the statement that it is “too much trouble to think of a subject and to compose a formal message”–that’s just depressing.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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