There Is Nothing Wrong Or Broken With Email

I checked my calendar. We had three weeks without someone claiming that email is broken and that we need to fix it. We have to fix something that worked for nearly 50 years? Why?

What are emails? What should you be able to do with them? How does it work? Let us answer the most important questions first so we can concentrate on what is really wrong with email.

  1. You receive them
  2. You read them
  3. You answer them
  4. You send them
  5. Sometimes you search for informations

One to five is possible and works fine. There are all kinds of email clients you can use. Text based, graphical, integrated in your OS, third party applications, web interfaces,… there are more ways to work with emails than you can imagine. And there is one thing they all share - the possibility to fulfill everything from one to five.

You want Twitter and Facebook integrated? You want to use it as a todo list? It would be great if you could call someone from your mail client? I have some bad news for you.

Email is just fine. You just do not understand what it is.

Emails were used, and the whole system was created, to send text based informations and sometimes attach files to it. Just because you want it to do something else does not mean we have to change the whole system. You want video calls? Use FaceTime or Skype. You want a todo list? Use one. Do not try to force a new concept on an existing system that worked and works for decades.

Now you will, of course, argue that you have the solution for everything that is wrong with email. You can solve it and make the world a better place. If we listen to you email will also cure cancer. You can show everyone why you think email is broken and why we need an immediate solution. You know what? You are still wrong.

Of course there are scenarios and cases where an all integrated communication service would be great. We have seen many of them. Skype, ICQ, Facebook but one thing always stayed, all the time. Emails. Nothing in the last 10 years was a serious challenge and I do not believe we will see this happen.

I can use every device I own to read and write emails. Without any third party application I have to install. I just enter my account informations and have everything I need. I do not have to hope that some company is able to keep servers up and if one goes down no one else but a few are affected. I do not have to think about the possibility that Facebook buys the company that provides my main communication service and "facebookifies" it. I know where my data is, how to get it, how to back it up and I can be sure that it is not just sold because some 20 year old "business dude" thinks it would be cool to cash out.

Email is not broken. The fact that you want to add tons of features it was never meant to provide is the problem. Please do me one favor. Stop it. Thanks.

>> posted on July 12, 2012, midnight in web