Email is for yesterday, today, and tomorrow

People are still telling me that email is obsolete, that it can be replaced by Slack, Teams, or Google Chat. Some folks swear they can do more over instant messaging.  Or, even better, some proclaim (with an odd glare in their eyes from their webcam ring light), Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, or BlueJean Meetings are the future.

Please. Enough already. We were using email in the 1970s, and we’ll still be using it in the 2070s.

Email’s enemies claim it’s a waste of time and energy, that’s it sucks the life out of their day with countless messages morning, noon, and night. That’s it’s always interrupting them. Oh, hold that thought. I just heard another important “ding!” from Slack. I’ll get back to you after I’m done looking at…(glances at Slack to see a new photo of my friend Esther’s cat Shaka on a forbidden desk)…, uhm, what were we deciding?

Seriously — Slack, Chanty, Flock, you name it — all instant message (IM) groupware programs have one thing in common: they’re constantly interrupting you.

Guess what? This kind of program has been popping up on screens with “Pay attention to me!” messages for decades. Some of the first programs I used were IMs. I started with “talk” on BSD Unix systems in the 1970s. Then I graduated to Slack’s ancient predecessor, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in the late 1980s. I’m still using it. For that matter, if Time-Warner had open-sourced AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), I’d probably still be using it today, too.