Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Social Networking to destroy email?

IBM’s Social Computing Evangelist Luis Suarez (LinkedIn Profile) writes a piece in the New York Times (LinkedIn Company Profile) on the impending death of email and it’s replacement by social networking.

Anyways, here’s the gist:

Email doesn’t work – Hide from email – Inbox stops growing – everyone happy (or something to that effect) – Solution: Social Networking

Too much email

My take: I’m a social networking early adopter (being the community evangelist at LinkedIn helps) and I’ve finally narrowed down my social networking choices to LinkedIn (d’uh!), Facebook and Twitter (with Friend Feed adding to this Inbox multiplicity dilemma!)

What this has created is 6 email inboxes in my life (outlined below) with the addition of one IM client, and I empathize with those who participate in more than 3 social networks.

1. Home – Gmail (I LOVE Gmail! Makes life so much easier and allows me to send email from other aliases. Wish I just had to contend with Gmail)

2. Work – Microsoft Entourage (Please don’t get me started on it!)

3. LinkedIn – I spend a ton of time every day on my professional network of choice and receive and send a ton of messages with my colleagues. I also use this to share news with my professional network.

4. Twitter – Love the immediacy and inevitably check this inbox once every day

5. Facebook – Receive messages but rarely check them; maybe once a week (sometimes not)

6. Friend Feed – Force myself to check it since some folks like Pirillo, Arrington & Winer have started using it for conversations. Personally not convinced yet.

7. In addition to the above Inboxes, I do use Adium for my IM needs (esp. trying to contact my colleagues at work, when I need a quick answer). Adium allows me to pull in a ton of IM clients into one sweet interface.

How many Inboxes do you manage today?

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Filed under: Miscellaneous

7 Responses

  1. David Blanar says:

    Er, apart from gmail, I don’t ‘check’ those other accounts. Everything comes to me in the form of feeds.

    FriendFeed didn’t bowl me over either, until I paired it with Alert Thingy. Wow. The combination – which allows comment on everything from tweets to bookmarks – has changed the way I interact with social media. I recommend trying it.

    Like

  2. phon says:

    “impending death of email and it’s replacement by social networking”?

    That’s hardly what Suarez’s article is implying.

    It’s about finding better, more productive ways to communicate than emailing people – by answering questions in blogs or wikis (so his responses can be shared and discussed), using IM for real-time communication, telephoning people to cut down on emails, and using social software to share files, articles and bookmarks.

    Personally, I don’t see how having 6 (or more) inboxes across different social networks can be productive. It’d be better to have one inbox that receives feeds from your other accounts.

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  3. Mario Sundar says:

    @David,

    I’ve tried Alert Thingy and I find that a useful tool, but frankly I try to stay away from Twitter and Friend Feed sites during the day given that they are quite noisy.

    However, a twitter search for “LinkedIn” helps me attend to linkedin related queries vs. getting drowned in the noise.

    Try tweet scan or summize to do relevant brand searches.

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  4. Mario Sundar says:

    @phon,

    “I stopped using e-mail most of the time.” and a title like “I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip” don’t leave much to the imagination?! However, I should have replaced social networking with social media/online collaborative tools 🙂

    As a social media evangelist myself, I couldn’t agree more with Luis that social media/collaborative tools enable us to achieve what email was originally intended to do. However, as a GTD fan, I’m rather dismayed that I have way more than one Inbox to tend to 😦

    Thanks for the comment.

    Like

  5. Mark says:

    According to eMarketer 67% of email users have three email accounts or more. And these figures do not take into account social networks; which are essential closed-loop messaging/email platforms.

    I have four email accounts, MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn. I use NutshellMail.com to manage and access all of these accounts directly through my most commonly used inbox (gmail). NutshellMail is also compliant with most corporate email policies.

    For disclosure, i am also the co-founder of NutshellMail. We just launched our private beta, but our current testers seem to love it. Feel free to check it out and sign up for a free account.

    Like

  6. Mario Sundar says:

    @Mark,

    I’ve finally closed or at least stopped using my Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts to focus on Gmail, which I absolutely love.

    Thanks for the feedback and your suggestion on nutshellmail. Sounds interesting. Wondering which other companies operate in this space?

    Like

  7. I work on email based products, so you would think I want email to last forever, but I don’t and I think email’s days are numbered. My tennage kids only have email accounts to enable them to connect with teachers and other adults. They view email as a legacy system (although they don’t call it that, they are more descriptive, describing it as “dumb” or “useless”) . Otherwise, they use IM, Facebook messages and of course talk on the phone. Email as a paradigm can be replaced by lots of other mechanisms.

    Like

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