I recently spoke with Bill Newman of Newport Consulting about social networking in the business. Bill told me that in his mind, “email is dead.” It’s a now-outdated form of communication that’s being replaced with the swath of new social tools coming to the business – document and project collaboration services and instant messaging programs that leave you wondering what the need for email really is anymore.
Email is still so widely used that it probably won’t be disappearing any day soon, but according to Bill:
“I honestly don’t think we’ll be on email in 10 years. We’ll either be on these social network sites, or have one big dashboard, similar to TweetDeck, [a service that pulls different social media accounts into one view]. It’ll be one giant aggregator; you’ll just see all your messages coming into one cockpit. I think this is just going to be a matter of business practice within 10 years.”
Sound familiar to anyone? I’m sure it does to any fans of The Office. Earlier this season Ryan introduced his new business WUPHF – a service that links your emails, faxes, text messages, voicemails, tweets, chat programs, and pages so that when someone sends you a message or notification on any one of those services, all of them alert you. WUPHF (pronounced “woof”) ended up being a flop, but if you think about the
growing need to be constantly connected during and outside of work, was his concept really that far fetched?
If Bill is correct in his assumption that 10 years from now all of our communication sources will be collected in one main dashboard, then the writers for The Office may have inadvertently stumbled upon the future of communication in their effort to simply make a joke. Kudos.
The article in which I spoke with Bill is up on the Project Expert online knowledgebase. Check out “Social Tools for the Business Part 1: How Internal Communication and Efficiency Can Benefit from Social Networking Tools” to read about how social networking tools can help your company. The tools include features such as file sharing, discussion boards, groups, blogging, IM communication, and analysis and report creation. Many are very easy to get up and running and most have a free version so you can start off with a low-pressure option to see what it can do for you. Check out the article to see how you can benefit from the tools and read about some popular tools and services used in businesses today.
And keep an eye out for the second article in the “Social Tools for the Business” series coming next month. That article will discuss external social media tools that can help improve your company’s public image and promote its brands.
Let me know your thoughts on social business tools and the future of communication – do you agree that email is becoming obsolete?
-Laura, Project Expert