Jonathan Zittrain (below, left) thinks so (here, republished here):
… But this is a good time to point out something beyond the cat-and-mouse of spam-and-filter: email is dying. … most students today rarely use email, preferring instant messaging, Facebook, Myspace, and other private messaging attached to a proprietary service. … Email is clearly broken, and the various anti-spam tricks designed to extend its life can only go so far. But it’s sad to see the last great shared app eclipsed.
This seems more than a shade apocalyptic to me. It may be true of US high school kids and/or college students, but it is certainly not true – yet? – of Irish university students, to say nothing of their lecturers (some of whom have yet to embrace email, let alone transcend it!). But, that aside, there is an important question here: is email dying under the weight of spam? What do you think?
Update 1 (7 July 2007): Peter Black has also picked up on Zittrain’s post, and agrees with it; an extract:
I agree with this analysis as from my own experience I know that I almost never use email for any personal communication; I have to use email for work, but most of my personal communication occurs through Facebook. The end of email may be upon us much sooner than we all think …
Update 2 (7 July 2007): Via John Naughton I learn (belatedly) of Nora Ephron’s six stages of email (from the New York Times):
Infatuation (… Wheeeee! Iâ€™ve got mail!);
Clarification (… saves so much time … a whole new way of being with people);
Disenchantment (Help! Iâ€™m drowning. I have 112 unanswered e-mail messages. … Now I have 115 unanswered messages. Strike that: 116);
Accommodation (Yes. No. No :). …);
Death (Call me.).
It looks like Zittrain and Black have jumped straight from three to six. Maybe somebody should call them?