It has become a truism that Social Business tools will replace/remove/redundantify (if such a word exists*) email.
It’s never going to happen. Email will be here for a long time still, so get used to living with it. Social Business systems that can’t cope with email will die a long time before email will.
The reason for this is that, in the entire history of new media from the invention of speech onwards, newer and further developed types of media never replace the existing modes of media and their usage patterns. Instead, a convergence takes place in their field, leading to a different way and field of use for these older forms. The diagram above shows how mewdia generations have gone in News, it will be no different for Business communications. (Source Baekdalmedia.com)
This observation is called Riepl’s Law.
This was first noticed by Wolfgang Riepl. Riepl was the chief editor of Nuremberg’s biggest newspaper at the time, and was stated as above in his dissertation about ancient modes of news communications.
He wrote his dissertation in 1913.
The rule had held good from Rome (and before) to 1913, and has held good till 2015, it’s not going to give way anytime soon. By the way, as an indication of email pervasiveness, when Groupware first arrived in the heady days of the TextNet, it was via email (Listservers). Attemps to make “Web Only” Groupware sites largely failed on the DotComWeb, and purveyors soon learned to ambrace email. Ditto the first collaboration sites like Notes, Basecamp etc.
Email is here to stay in Business, for quite some time to come. There are some things it does way, way better than Social comms systems, and some it doesn’t. Riepl’s Law predicts it will be used for the things its good at, and the things it is less good at will be be done by newer comms systems.
* It does now….