My friend, John, asked this question on Facebook:
Let's talk about email. Is it dead? Why would anyone use it for official communication? Marketing? Sure. But official stuff? No way. What will replace it? Coffee shop chats? Love that idea.
I was provoked to think about this question; my wheels got turning, and I wrote a reply. I’ll share that with you here now:
I don’t think email is dead John, as I think it’s It’s the fastest way to share an attachment or a link with someone at another company.
There’s no qualifier needed to understand if they are on iOS or android, or another slack team to join. And texting/iMessage isn’t great for sharing docs and especially links meant to be consumed on a desktop.
Email is kind of a universal post office replacement for information/doc sharing.
But… I think the greater point you are getting to is that we need more face to face. I think we don’t pick up the phone enough and call people in favor of text/email.
We don’t get in front of people often enough to actually catch up. And if you believe what the loud folks keep say about millennials ; they have lost the physical ability to speak and only communicate through emoji. I don’t think it’s gone that far, but it’s definitely worse than it used to be.
I’m on the older side of that spectrum in the “official age range” of millennial and I haven’t lost my ability to speak on the phone, but definitely default more than I should to a quick text based message. I need to work on that.
So that's it?
I need to work on my communication skills when it comes to reaching out to people either on the phone or face to face.
Am I hiding behind the asyncronicity of email, text and everything besides speaking directly with that other person?
I might actually be.
The convenience and performance enhancing factors of using tools like Slack to move things along when getting work done, and to get quick answers are unmistakeable. But sometimes you have to get on the horn or in front of a whiteboard and hash it out.
But I know that there are times that I know that should, that I haven’t picked up the phone or made the face to face.
And I think that this is why so many “millennials” get a bad rap. They (we? You be never thought about myself as being in that category, but I think I may be wrong) don’t see the total eschew of phone and meetings as different.
Young Dogs, New Tricks
If we are talking about how to navigate within a team; what we have is a couple of extremes; and when everyone can meet closer to the middle and give a little, it all seems to work out much better.
It’s when you have old dogs and young dogs both unwilling to learn new tricks that the worst kind of conflict and resentment build within a team.
It’s up to you/me/us to be willing to learn the new tricks and accept that many folks come from different places. We have to assimilate and be a team.
If you have an opinion on this: Email me. Or call me, or WhatsApp me, or we’ll have coffee. At this point, I’ve decided I’m game for whatever.