The Social Web Prays at Email's Altar

15 thoughts on “The Social Web Prays at Email's Altar”

  1. I always felt ‘Smart Inbox’ is an unfinished business. There are message rules, spam filters in some clients but still there is lot to be desired. I sure hope the email startups (like Postbox) keep innovating. Google Wave might be a huge success but there is a long road ahead for that to completely replace email.

  2. Email is just a big catch-all to search later, kinda awesome in that respect. The message–knowing you got it allows you to put of action till it’s important. We’re all sorta lazy, so it works. However, I’m up for innovation, as long as it’s awesome!

  3. Interesting post! I definitely think that times are changing and it is time for email to get revamped a bit (my emails- plural :P- are also messier than I would like). I think there’s something to be said for being able to process news, updates and information in the right context. This is why while I agree on some level that email is the “hub of our Internet experience”, I still double take when I read it. Every morning I have a set ritual of sites and different emails (for different uses) that I cycle through: typically, email account 1, 2 and 3, facebook and then Twitter. As I mentioned, reading and processing things in the right context is important to me (aka: email is not the right context for a lot of things :P)- so, for instance, I like to read my messages and notifications directly in facebook- I do not even get any notifications sent to me via email anymore. In fact, I think it is this context issue that it is the biggest problem; ideally my information hub will make it very easy to see, read and interact with whatever information I am being fed in the context it makes sense in. By just being sent updates on a new photo, a new message, a new blog post, context and conversation is missing. It’s early to tell but it looks to me like Google Wave might help solve some of these issues…

  4. I completely agree that there are plenty of user needs in the email space. I spend my day buried in my inbox, and I know that there are things that take me 5 times longer to do in Outlook than it would using software that was built with a bit more innovative thinking.

    I do like what I am seeing with Postbox (what I use for all my personal email). The mission of this company appears to be focused on extending the user experience with email – it’s not just headed towards being just another “me-too” client.

    Aside from the powerful search and organization features, which I think are the client’s most compelling leg-up over other email programs, there are several other interesting features that suggest continued innovation to come…e.g. seeing my friends’ Facebook status messages when I click on their names in the “from” field…being able to sign directly into Adium to message a friend (who Postbox lets me know is online)…being able to drag a Google map or Yelp review right from the sidebar into an email message I am composing.

  5. My company might not be completely “altering the Email paradigm” but SenderOK, division of WebCEO, has a plug-in that works in Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and Live that would give a user experience similar to a new wave.

    Here are trends that are happening now (we announce that we have it and Google then says they will have it):

    1) Anti-Phishing Icons in the Inbox: The first thing you would see after installing our add-on would be Twitter and Facebook favicons representing their authentic email in your inbox. Their emails, and any reputable authentic email given favicon status, would be rescued from the spam box if it was sent there (one really should unsubscribe from that which is not really spam but you can ask the plug-in to send that sender back to spam forever if you want).

    2) Email Sorting according to your past behavior and the behavior of others in the network. This cures email overload and you can be sure that SenderOK does not think all emails are equal. A smart algorithm designates some as VIP and verbally announces the email’s arrival, while routine emails can be ignored until they are checked once per day or week.

    3) Social Networking Profiles in the Email Header Pane (we compete with xobni this way). Social networks must get out of the browser prison they are now in – that separates them from Email – or they will suffocate and die.

    All of the above are major trends and our startup is going after all three “markets” at the same time. The WebCEO programmers are now making sure we can provide real time anonymous statistics to companies on what really happens to their email and whether they can reach people another way (such as starting a conversation via the social networking portal inside the email header pane).

    Here are my blog posts and a Washington Post article on this:

    http://senderok.wordpress.com/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/01/AR2009040100070.html

  6. I think email will be around for a very long time. My 8th grader cousin even uses email the most comparing to Facebook and Myspace.

    Although it’s interesting to see how a lot of consumer communications are brought to other platforms now, email will stay as it is for a while at least for corporate uses.

    I just wish everything can be more integrated. Truly managing these communication channels are becoming hell.

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