Since the dawn of the Internet, email has been the best way to contact any human on earth, period. Snail mail? Sure, if you’ve got a week to spare. Pagers? Glorified notifications. Text? Memorize a ten digit number and pay your provider charges, then we’ll chat. Phone call? Same as text, except now your recipient must be available at the same time as well.
With email, as long as you had the correct address, you knew your message would be read – everyone checks their email! Amongst dozens of other communication channels full of spam, irrelevance, and junk, the inbox remained safe and sacred, the single definitive archive of message intended exclusively for you.
Today, the roles have switched. Our inboxes have become synonymous with spam, irrelevance, and junk, while we take to dozens of other communication channels in order to connect with the people we care about.
In the past hour I’ve spoken with friends/colleagues via email, text, WeChat, Twitter DM, FB msger, Snapchat, & LinkedIn. And it makes sense
— Andy Ellwood (@andyellwood) March 6, 2015
Modern communications have fragmented. This is not a bad thing – it allows us to segment our social circles by channel. This model lets you decide when you are going to engage with whom, rather than throwing every part of your life into one single inbox.
Email Remains The Biggest Contact Bucket
The new paradigm all about buckets of contacts. My text messaging bucket contains all my friends. My Facebook bucket contains all my acquaintances. My Whatsapp bucket has my foreign friends, and the Slack bucket has all my coworkers. So what’s in my email bucket?
All of the above (coworkers and friends have email too) and none of the above (one-off contacts who I don’t want to talk to elsewhere). The email bucket is the biggest bucket, with all of the other ones inside it.
That’s why email isn’t “dying” anytime soon, no matter what the press release of every hot new tech company may promise. Your email bucket has over 2.5 billion global people in it. That bucket is linked to your email address, the sole credential allowing you to access the entire Internet (with an email address required to sign up for any kind of web presence). Even as we adopt new communication channels, we continue to use email – because we know that everyone has it.
Email = Anyone In The World. Messengers = Anyone In Their Bucket
In addition to being the biggest, email is also the most egalitarian. Hotmail users can email Google users, who can email Yahoo users, and so on. It’s actually a series of smaller buckets, but because they can all talk to each other seamlessly, they become one.
Meanwhile, every other communication channel requires both parties to be use the same service, which leads to closed platforms. Just look at Asia’s mobile messengers – Wechat has Chinese users, LINE has Japanese users, and KakaoTalk has Korean users, with barely any overlap. When they wish to communicate across international borders, where do they turn? Email.
The Rise of Messengers Isn’t The End of Email
The future of communication isn’t monolithic. It’s fragmented into many buckets. But that doesn’t mean email’s original communication bucket will go away. It remains valuable both for its size and its interoperability.
Email deserves a clean mobile-first interface in order to survive in today’s mobile messaging world. And today’s mobile messaging world deserves an open platform in order to circumvent corporate walled gardens. MailTime solves both by building a messenger using email’s giant, open bucket.
We’ll continue messaging. And we’ll continue emailing. They’re just start to look more like each other.