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Out of a midlife crisis and onward to a gilded second youth

Is it time for a new form of electronic postage, or have the reports of email's death been greatly exaggerated?

Email presents itself as a paradox: it is the most enduring and transversal internet platform, but its static nature in regards to development seems to challenge the notion that internet services race each other in an attempt to be flashier and more complex. This stubborn framework begins to show some signs of fatigue, however. Over the course of the last few posts on this blog, we attempted to navigate the resulting pains associated with email use.

We began by dissecting the number one complaint, inbox overload. The clutter of messages is something that seems to affect every user, but no easy solutions have yet emerged. The remedies we proposed tended to do away with messages – an effective if not elegant measure.

Next we tackled the concerns over time efficiency. Of a more behavioral nature, we identified the problem of email taking up too much of our workday and/or leisure time. Dealing with this problem demanded discipline from the user, without much in the way of technical options.

After an interlude dealing with the finer etiquette of carbon copying, we approached the subject of memory with a trifecta of posts. More specifically, email’s memory: catalogue, archives and attachments. Once more, the solutions that emerge for dealing with the problems of data retrieval all seem to configure a bit too much effort from the part of the user.

As such, this has prompted corporation to look for alternatives to email, in an attempt to cut down on the valuable working time this service seems to take up. No project seems to find the correct formula to do away with email, however. We are, then, left wondering whether email has finally reached the end of its life.

It is our solemn belief that no – in no way has email reached the end of its usefulness. We all use it and we have all come to need it, despite its flaws. It is up to us to engineer solutions that will allow us to love email again. And how do we do this? You’ll soon find out, on this very space.