At #solo13 I'm running a workshop on email: The Dark Art of Dark Social: Email, the antisocial medium which will not die. Yesterday I gave a short presentation about using email with students, but I've been thinking about email for the past year as part of my current interest in Dark Social. As a result, I was interested in a new post on AllThingsD, The Big Email Opportunity.
I don't particularly want to be in the position of being the public apologist for email, but I don't agree with Nick Morris that email is evil - although you could make a case that some of the people who use it are. More charitably, I think most of them are misguided rather than evil, and if high powered academics don't know the difference between Reply and Reply To All, who am I to correct them? What I particularly like about Robert Abbott's post is that it shifts the focus away from users onto the software. He is absolutely right to point out that email systems have not moved on since the 1990's, with the worst offended of all being Microsoft Outlook. (Man, it feels so retro bashing Microsoft).
A little dab of A.I. and almost all of what people feel to be the "problems" of email go away. Short of that, decent software that reminds the user to include a subject line (helpfully suggesting a suitable offering from the context of the thread) and automatically attaches the correct attachment for them would be an improvement. (Yeah, remember the 90s? That's how it was kids.) Email has to change, and the sooner the better. Long Live Email! It ain't going away, so let's get it right.