Someone saying they never saw or expected the email from me on Wednesday (I usually have been sending it over KakaoTalk, but felt that this time it didn’t merit the level of “urgency” in an instant message), gave me a glimpse of what is going on with all these people communicating over Instagram or Facebook messages.
The email economy has collapsed for a sector of the population.
There is the failure of most email systems (hopefully excluding gmail) to control spam, that was the first wave of push away from email. Then, there was the gradual takeover of legal, semi-legal and even opt-in email communications overriding legitimate person-to-person emails. Instead of clearing up the mess (which is a lot of work and used to be highly technical in the early days), people simply moved to another platform that was newer, and therefore had fewer irrelevant messages. No business sends promotional content over Instagram or Facebook messaging.. yet. They already have their own venue – timeline posts, in which they are focusing all their attention. Which explains why get out the vote text message communications is so effective.
It may also explain why instead of revamping the gmail interface, Inbox was created in a way to allows you to only focus your attention to emails that matter, where there’s the “personal stream” akin to social media messaging, and “email stream” which is the classic email. In a sense, Inbox made email too social media-like, which would have turned off traditional email users.
That means, that just like how people moved away from email, as social media advertising becomes increasingly crowded, businesses will eye non-timeline advertising. “Can we put an ad on the side of where users look at their individual messages?” “How about an ad in between individual messages?” Social media platforms probably know that that would be the beginning of the end of their relevancy as a platform, and try to keep the businesses busy with timeline advertising. How long will that last..