Reports of the Death of Email Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Five years ago, I was invited to be part of a technology panel, and I amused the crowd by reporting to them how some fifteen years earlier I had predicted the demise of the Internet. And on this later panel – the one that took place five years ago – I boldly predicted, with a head-bobbing “you heard it here first” attitude, that within five years, we would have fewer emails.

Let me say to you now what I said to them then: I may have been a tad off. After I cleared my inbox this morning, I finally got some time to think about this. I will admit I was wrong again, but not as wrong as the first time, because on a percentage basis of total human interactions, email has probably gone down, having been squeezed out by texting, social media, and “collaboration” platforms such as SharePoint and Lync.

What I didn’t figure was the sheer magnitude of messaging that was about to happen, a big part of what we now know as “big data”. Email is still big because it is so “permanent”. It is to us now what a home phone number or snail-mail address used to be. Those are still there (to some folks) but our reliance on them has been reduced greatly. For me, where checking the mail and phone messages on the way in the house was an everyday occurrence, these activities are now weekly at best.

Will this also happen to email? Heck, I’m not hazarding a guess!

Don’t let emails stress you out – Supplementary Information

If you’re here because you’ve read my column on email in the Chronicle Herald (…) , you’re in the right spot! So here we go…

The original article on email can be found here: That article will tell you how to organize emails around flags.

How to use colours to flag emails from important people:

Using Outlook 2012:

This seems like a lot of steps, but once you do it once or twice it comes very easily.

1. Click on the View tab.
2. Click on the View Settings button
3. Click on Conditional Formatting
4. Click on Add
5. Type in a name, like “Emails from John Doe”
6. Click on Font
7. Pick a colour from the drop down box
8. Click OK
9. Click on Condition
10. In the From field, type in the person’s name exactly as it would appear in your inbox (type it in, don’t click the From button)
11. Click OK

Using earlier versions of Outlook:

1. Click on Tools, then Organize
2. Choose the Using Colors tab
3. Using the dropdowns in the Color Messages line, pick From, then type in the person’s name or email address, then pick Red, and press Apply Color