The Future of Email

A lot of us have a love-hate relationship with email.  We are dependent on it for all kinds of correspondence—business, professional, personal—but we get angry, annoyed, and even anxious when our mailboxes fill up with messages.  Constantly checking new messages as they come in, which many people do, is distracting and can even cause high levels of stress.  Teenagers seem to be opting out of email altogether, preferring instead to text message and to chat on platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.  Is email dead?

Not at all says Adrienne LaFrance in her terrific article in The Atlantic, “The Triumph of Email,” which takes the reader through the history and development of email (did you know the first email was sent in 1971?) and brings the reader up to the present day.  LaFrance acknowledges that “Email volume appears to be growing, still, but its share of overall electronic communication has shrunk.”  LaFrance concludes that even though people have difficulty managing their email accounts and are turning to other forms of communication, “Email works.  It’s open.  It’s lovely on mobile.”  And it’s not going away anytime soon.

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