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Email as the future

Why I couldn’t live without it.

In a practice video interview, a woman started with the question:

“What's a piece of technology you couldn't live without?”

With only 20 seconds to prepare, my brain raced through my day and the technologies involved. A car's keyless start? A smartphone?

Then I realized without a doubt...EMAIL.

Here’s why.

Email is asynchronous.

Corporate communication has shifted “from Email to Slack or, better said, from asynchronous to real-time,” says techie/writer Kevin Indig. We expect results and replies immediately. (Especially impatient Millennials.)

Email response times are typically within a day, sometimes a week. The email inbox makes time go a teeny bit slower and removes the expectations of immediacy we have come to expect in other aspects of life.

Email is controlled.

We have ultimate authority over what enters our inboxes. Contrast this to social media, home to the infinite feed, the rabbit hole, “the doomscroll”. Even more importantly, social media feeds are curated specifically for each person. Algorithms and paid promotions control your attention. (Watch The Social Dilemma for more on this and what the future might hold.)

The unsubscribe button is the carrot we dangle over emails. We are in control of what we receive, who we are in contact with, and the messages that hit our inbox.

M.G. Siegler of Google Ventures writes of email, “there’s something nice to feeling like you’re slowing down the pace of info that’s coming your way.” And while I agree, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of advertising emails and spam. It requires fine-tuning every now and then.

Email has been and continues to be challenged by Slack, messenger apps, and countless others. Yet the email is thriving as a way to get news, newsletters, and be in touch. It is asynchronous and controlled, both of which hold sway over 'competition.'

And Email, unlike Tweets sent into the ether, allows for personal connections. Maybe that's what we need a little more of.

So, “What's a piece of technology you couldn't live without?”

Email.

What’s yours?