Friday, October 30, 2009

Will Twitter Kill Emailing?

French Internet guru Henri Kaufman has been the first one to express to me this idea: Twitter will kill emails. Now this is the very serious Wall Street Journal that writes about it.

Micro blogging, Twittering, or Instant web, whatever you want to call it represents indeed a revolution. Freshness becomes the most fundamental value of the information. That's clear. Since I am twittering, and even if I own a Blackberry which technically allows me to read my emails at any time, my email accounts get stacked and I spend my week ends on deleting emails I don't even have the time to answer. With Twitter, if the information has gone to the second page of your thread, you are over with it. And it is fine, as it is the concept of it.

Little wonder that while email continues to grow, other types of communication services are growing far faster. In August 2009, 276.9 million people used email across the U.S., several European countries, Australia and Brazil, according to Nielsen Co., up 21% from 229.2 million in August 2008. But the number of users on social-networking and other community sites jumped 31% to 301.5 million people.

"The whole idea of this email service isn't really quite as significant anymore when you can have many, many different types of messages and files and when you have this all on the same type of networks," says Alex Bochannek, curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

That can make it harder to determine the importance of various messages. When people can more easily fire off all sorts of messages—from updates about their breakfast to questions about the evening's plans—being able to figure out which messages are truly important, or even which warrant a response, can be difficult. Information overload can lead some people to tune out messages altogether.

Such noise makes us even more dependent on technology to help us communicate. Without software to help filter and organize based on factors we deem relevant, we'd drown in the deluge.

Enter filtering. In email land, consumers can often get by with a few folders, if that. But in the land of the stream, some sort of more sophisticated filtering is a must.

It might take some time before the mass market use and apprehend the new medium. There are still a lot of people that has never heard about Twitter, or even worse,hundreds of thousands people that registered but have never understood how to use it.

But I firmly believe Twitter, or maybe more the Instant web, will for sure change the face of how people interract online.