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There has been much debate over the future of email. Some people say there is a growing expectation of quicker and more frequent responses which cannot be handled by email. Instant messaging, social media, and other instantaneous methods of communications are great but are they organized? How easy is it to keep a record of every chat, IM, and post versus email? Email is private and secure and capable of handling large attachments and bodies of text. After all, email has been around for 40 plus years. In this post we explore what the future holds for email.

Work communication

Let's face it, as soon as we get to work and start on our second cup of coffee for the day we are already opening our email to see what came in. You read a few email chains on various discussions, some of which have important attachments. Most organizations require all their employees to have a company issued email address for all official business communication.

Email and social media

As juvenile as it may sound, you must have an email address in order to activate your Facebook account. Email alerts are pushed when you have incoming friend requests, receive replies to your messages, and when others invite you to an event. Going back to the previous paragraph, social networking is not appropriate for a work environment. Social networking sites are great for sharing thoughts and ideas, sending resumes to potential employers, even applying for jobs and posting your resume as your profile information. However; when it comes down to it social networking sites are too public and informal.

Some people claim email will die out and get overcome by Facebook. Again, this is a young way of thinking. Facebook is too unstable to be suitable in a work environment. While some pages are useful to get daily feeds and information from it should be limited to sharing information about events, weather, traffic, etc.

Privacy and security

Email is much more secure and private than social media. While you can keep an archive of messages in private messages boxes on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social sites it is a poor substitute for encrypted emails and folders. Email encryption has come a long way since its early beginnings. You can digitally sign and encrypt all emails you send out so those on the receiving end can verify it is really you sending those messages.

What are the alternatives?

There really are few alternatives to emails, many of which are too complex and unsecure for work. People might be able to do without email in their personal lives and thrive off of their inboxes which is great however; schools and businesses will never let email die out. Some alternatives to email may be issue trackers, internal networking tools, and others. These tools are still in their infancy but even as such they strike a close resemblance to email.

While the debate goes on email is not going anywhere anytime soon. Too many people, businesses, schools, and other institutions depend on email every day for their prime means of communication.

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