Could Twitter replace email?
By Linda Cheung
Without wishing to highlight my age, I remember email being something new and exciting when I was at university. We had time limits on our usage and emails could only be sent internally.
When I started work there were seniors who thought email would never take off. Mark remembers email conferences continuing to run until 2005. But I still struggle to think of life before email. As with speaking in person, or on the phone, I think of email as a way to talk.
Could email be replaced by Twitter? An influential speaker and writer recently told me that he was thinking of dropping email to force people to reach him through Twitter. Said influential speaker (SIS) is constantly bombarded with sycophantic emails, to encourage his attendance at events and endorsement of products and services. SIS likes that the 140 character restriction of Twitter "gets rid of the fluff" and if someone pesters him too much he can simply block them.
Discussing SIS’ comments with a group of marketers last week resulted in a déjà vu moment – I was back with those email cynics from my first job…
- What about keeping messages private?
Well, you can use Twitter’s direct messages.
- What about attachments?
You can upload the content then include a shortened, say bit.ly, link in your tweet.
- What about emails where you need to copy in a large group?
You can ask everyone involved to label their tweets with a specific hashtag.
- How about corporate use?
Take a look at Yammer or other similar tools as an example.
I wonder how long it will take before Twitter (or similar) is just one more way for us to talk.