Toys of the information revolution part one

E-mail is here to stay, or is it?

Email is not secure, email is not guaranteed, delivery of email is not gauranteed. Heck, even the origin of email is not guaranteed. The basic technology of email is designed with network failure in mind, so that generally speaking, even if your mail server is not connected to the Internet, you may still receive email addressed to you, if your server reconnects in time.

We need email for many reasons, mostly because this communication technology gels with our human nature. Humans are more than one thing and yet many things at the same time. Even the composition of what we are at any given time can change at any time. We are emotional creatures that consists of everything and something and depending on when, anything in our being could either dominate or not even be present.

Email can be read at your convenience, anytime that suits you. Email can be responded to anytime, even years later or it can be ignored and forgotten. We can blame the technology, (the cheque is in the mail) I did not receive your email or we could print out the header information to try to use an email in court. Email, like humans, can be many things or nothing, depending on the time and the view of the requirement.

Many technologists have been predicting the demise of email because there is far better and much more effective communications technology available, no, not vapourware, actual messaging protocols that proves delivery, receipt and real communication. Very unlike email.

The thing that technologists and wannabe bezillionaires leave out of the equation all the time is the very basic and very simple requirement of each and every human being, that of having a communications technology that matches human nature. We need to be able to tell our wives or girlfriends that a new dress does not make them look fat, we need to be able to tell aunt May that we did send birthday wishes in an email, did she not receive it?

We need a communication technology that allows us to live, allows us to respond when convenient, allows us to manage and organise our lives and most of all we need a technology that is not perfect and a technology that allows for failure, shortcomings and our own nature.

Email is probably the technology most legislated by almost all countries. Email is a communications tool, not a tool for marketing your latest widget to people you have no relationship with and yet email is also a tool for business, getting pricing, establishing relationships and developing business.

There is a lesson here for Facebook, Twitter, Google and others: People do not want perfect or great technology. Facebook cannot be a dating tool for singles as well as a mother and child communication link. Google cannot outperform Facebook by calling their friend groups, ‘circles’. Twitter is the equivalent of living in a small town where the easy spread of gossip is regarded as wrong but everyone still does it. Just because you sell drugs you cannot call yourself an ice cream vendor. Take a good hard look at what you are providing on a broad social level to completely understand what and who you true identity and worth is.