I’ve heard too many people complain or sigh when I speak the word “email”. In this article (and initial doodle/sketch-note), I explain why I think most of these people are wrong about email, and why I think that email is great.
1. Because everyone uses it
I found the following usage statistics:
- 26 million messages are sent daily on Slack
- 20 billion messages are sent daily by SMS
- 45 billion messages are sent daily through Whatsapp and Messenger
- whereas 205 billion emails are sent daily
Of course, 205 billion emails include a lot of spam. But, don’t forget that email is used as a primary way of communication by web services (e.g. for notifications), newsletters, and administration.
2. Because it’s free and ubiquitous
Free as in “free beer”: You don’t need to pay anything to send and read emails.
Free as in “freedom”: You are free to backup, download, copy your emails without vendor lock-in. Email format is an open standard.
Moreover, most devices we use everyday (phones, tablets, computers) provide ways to access your emails.
3. Because your inbox is a searchable memory
Over the years, your inbox probably contains most of your invoices, administrative documents (contracts, insurance, etc…), business news and decisions, and also many personal souvenirs. (photos, news from family…)
Isn’t it easier to search (and find) documents and information from your inbox than in your own house?
Are you using Slack for free? Then you should try to search for a year-old message. It will probably not show up in search results, unless you pay.
4. Because you can use it offline
Thanks to caching and background synchronization, you can read and write emails even when you have no signal or internet access. (e.g. in the subway)
Try sending and reading recent Slack messages in flight mode! ;-)
5. Because you can filter and automatize email
It’s easy to set up filters to help you sort your emails automatically.
You can even find your lost phone by sending an email. (using IFTTT)
Email is better than you think!
You can make it fit your preferences, if you take some time to organize your email workflow.
- Learn how to master Inbox Zero / GTD techniques;
- Use Google Inbox’s snooze functionality for reminders;
- Encourage use of concise emails;
- Reply directly inside emails, for clearer Q&As.
Spread the word!
Even though I also use and love other messaging apps, I hope that these few reasons will make you think twice before complaining about Email.
If it makes sense to you, share this article with the world!