The Future of Email or Messaging or…

What Teens Think Will Happen to Email (Source: Social Mouths)

French company Atos became the latest tech player to declare the end of email, calling it pollution and banning it from its corporate walls. Tech bloggers bagged the move, but in reality, it’s an increasingly familiar proclamation. Basically, the tech industry wants to replace email with the next generation of messaging.

In the online world, we have seen this trend emerge several times. Most notably, the birth and death of Google Wave was the first big attempt to end email. Then there was the not so successful Facebook Messages/Messenger App.

Invariably, these solutions feature a variety of social media or instant messaging technologies. For example, Google’s integration of undelivered Gmail chat messages into Gmail. Facebook’s Messages does the same thing with chat. It can also integrate text messaging. File sharing and workplace solutions like Dropbox and Basecamp still use email to notify users.

None of these solutions have completely replaced an email address, which has the primary feature of a name and a URL, providing routing on the Internet. And none of them replace the core peer-to-peer or peer-to-a few peers communication that made email so popular in the 90s.

Email is just another delivery method. You can shoot the messenger, but…

Can Tech Eliminate Spamming?

At the heart of this debate is ridding the in-box of trash, spam and other useless email, e.g. weeding out marketing messages. In the case of the workplace, employers are also trying to weed out useless banter (forwarded jokes, etc.). So the target is really us, those marketers who engage in direct email marketing.

Obviously, this makes opt-in lists and great email content even more important. And as future technologies come into the fore and marketing becomes strictly permission based, these twin bills of direct success may no longer be optional for companies. Spam tolerance decreases with each new messaging technology.

Yet if the hybridization of messaging succeeds eliminating the IP address portion of a digital message, won’t marketers find a new way to get into the next generation in-box? Historically, spam and bad marketing transcends medium. We have certainly experienced that with social media.

What do you think? Will a next generation technology replace email? Will it eliminate spam?