Email: What Alternatives Are Companies Using?

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 3.20.34 PMAs marketing communications professionals, we live and breathe by email. In fact, it’s hard to remember what we did BEFORE email. How did we ever communicate with each other? Naturally I was intrigued when I came across this article: Is There Life After Email? Yes, And It’s Amazing

The author of the article worked for WordPress.com, a company that doesn’t rely on email. He said that while all employees have email accounts, they rarely used them. He maintains that there are two primary reasons for using email at work: CYA and showing off.

At WordPress, the tool that is most often used is blogs, which live on WordPress, of course. Any documents that would be shared via email are posted to blogs for each team or project. Discussions then happen in comment threads, chat rooms or Skype. If you’re involved in the team or project, you’ll read the blog; if not, then you don’t need to pay attention.

Email’s Disadvantages

Unlike email, where the sender of the email has the power, at WordPress the reader chooses what blogs are relevant for him to read. On email, you have to be included on the email chain to read it. In this case, email senders tend to err on the side of including everyone and their mother, rather than risk leaving someone off. For this reason, we all get too many emails that are not relevant to us. Last, email decays over time. If there’s an important email that has been sent, we have to find a way to file and save it (and then remember where we did that) for future reference. With a blog, it’s easily searchable and accessible.

At GroundFloor Media, we’ve begun using Slack, “A messaging App for Teams.” Like most companies, we’ve had many discussions about how we can cut down on the volume of internal email we send each other. It’s hard to tell yet if we’ve reduced internal email. It seems more likely that Slack has replaced Skype, which many of us used for communicating internally. A recent Fast Company article called Slack an email killer – it will be interesting to see how broadly Slack catches on.

What is the future of email? Will it go by the wayside like the fax machine? Maybe it will be relegated to external communications only? Have you found better ways to communicate in your company?

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