Email Killed The Telephone Star?

It’s a weird thing to be pondering, but the importance of email as a method of communication has been on my mind today.

In the process of decluttering my notes as I shared in my previous post, I’ve also been tidying up my personal inbox with the help of a neat little tool called Unroll.Me. I’m happy to say that the amount of unnecessary clutter delivered to me each day has reduced significantly, although I sometimes feel those little pangs of withdrawal when I check my email and no new messages appear. 

Between this and managing the influx of actually work emails, I’ve realised that despite the popularity of social media and the rapid fragmentation of digital communication in general, email is far from obsolete or even a little insignificant. Email is still very much a necessary and reliable system, complementing the phone call (or perhaps replacing it) as the ’traditional’ method of correspondence in our modern age.

Sure, many businesses are harnessing the ‘chat’ and ‘direct messaging’ features across their social platforms (which of course helps improve customer service), however I associate a greater validity to email communications – it seems more official and trustworthy in my opinion.

I’ve asked myself why I believe this is so. Perhaps like the telephone is to generations before me, email is simply something I’ve grown accustomed given its advent and dominance throughout my years of study and work. Could it be a case of relating more to the Xennial generation and not quite grasping the digital trends that came after email? Is it my lack of interest in the new and nostalgia for older forms of communication? 

Maybe in a personal context, but not so when applied to business and the way we manage our working lives. Because the truth is, video didn’t really kill the radio star, and email didn’t do it to the telephone either. All such modes of media and communications still exist and are used every single day. They complement one another, each serving a specific purpose with their unique attributes and functions. They are all valuable tools and systems that enable us to inform, educate, create and connect with others in innovative and efficient ways.

I wondered, having received 20 work emails within two hours earlier today, why such communication would not have been viable as a phone call or a DM on Instagram. What is it about email that makes  certain correspondence (particularly in the way business operates) more formal, legitimised and worthwhile taking action on?

Unlike the telephone, there is a longer grace period to respond. Unlike social media, there is a thoughtfulness in how one responds.

Though I’ve had my fair share of stresses brought on by email and I strive to adapt the Inbox Zero philosophy, I have come to appreciate the power and significance of email in my daily workflows and interactions in the virtual landscape.

How does email play a part in your life today? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below! And you are most welcome to email me too.


Suni January 25, 2021 Reply

Email gives me certainty with my daily interactions. It allows me to express communications freely and honestly and at the same time preserves my ideas with whomever I’m sharing it with.

Eira Joy January 27, 2021 Reply

I like you how you think about and value email communication, thanks for sharing Suni!

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