But nothing will ever kill email. Yes, it can be a tedious and irritating, but it’s still useful to me in ways that other business communication methods (Slack, texting, phone calls) just aren’t.
In particular, email provides me two major benefits. First, it’s asynchronous. It doesn’t require an immediate response like a text or a chat in Slack. I can get to it on my schedule.
Second, email creates useful distance between me and other people who are trying to get my attention.
By contrast, Slack feels like a common room. People wander in and out, and because Slack shows your presence status, they can tap you on the shoulder in real time. I know I don’t have to respond right away, but there’s an urgency to direct messages in Slack that I don’t feel with email. I need to hold some groups at a remove, and email provides that space.
This preamble is a long-winded setup to our latest Snapshot survey from Human Infrastructure magazine. We asked readers to choose their primary business communication tool. Forty-four people responded, and as the pie chart shows, email dominates.
73% of respondents picked email as the primary tool. Collaboration/chat platforms like Slack and Yammer picked up 16% for a very distant second. And all the other choices didn’t even crack double digits.
While email kicked butt in this survey, I’m curious about the age ranges of our respondents. I wonder if the results would skew differently with younger workers, or if email has a particular gravity that will suck in even the heartiest of young texters.
And by the way, if you’d like to subscribe to Human Infrastructure, here’s the link. We send it twice a month, and we don’t share your details with anybody else.