Huffington Post is working on a story that asks if email is losing ground as a communications tool in business. I don't know what the reporter will find, but I don't see any tools now readily available that could replace it soon. It seems to be the preferred way for people to communicate in business, for a variety of reasons.
Email enables you to communicate at your convenience...no worry about time zones, business hours, workday vs weekend. Got something to say or to ask at 11 at night? Email away. You might have a response waiting in your inbox when you wake up, if not sooner. An email can be as long or as short as you want. No limits like 140 characters on Twitter. And you don't have to go through the time-consuming niceties of the "hello, how are you?" that come with a phone call. Face-to-face meetings and phone calls can be tricky to arrange and more time-consuming than an email or text.
Texting is more immediate, but I think texting etiquette would caution against sending a work text in the middle of the night. Texting seems to demand immediate attention, which could be seen as an intrusion, while an email can easily sit quietly in an inbox for hours until the intended recipient gets around to checking email and opening yours.
Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media don't seem to have an urgency to them. Most often they're used for personal things and random chatter.
There is certainly a risk in the one-way written communication, though. The recipient of an email can totally miss tone, humor, sarcasm, anger or frustration that the human voice can communicate, and the results can be devastating.
A recent survey, reported by Adweek, shows that most millennials (85 percent of them) prefer to meet or communicate in person with co-workers. Tied for the second preferred form of communication are phone calls and emails. (And we thought the Millennials are only about social media.)
So while other forms of communication may gain in popularity, I still see email and good ol' phone calls leading the way in how we communicate in business. But let's see what Huff Post has to say about it. I'll be watching for their story.
Any thoughts on this?