For the past two years I’ve used the commercial service Pobox.com. For $20 per year, they provide you with an email address you can share publicly and then redirect to any other email address you choose. I like doing this because it provides another layer of spam protection for my personal email, which is certainly needed. (I read in June some studies indicate over 90% of all emails sent worldwide now are spam.)
I renewed my Pobox.com account today and logged in to look at my spam settings.
I didn’t make any changes to these settings, but I was surprised to see it permits blocking of ALL email originating from certain countries. In the continuing war against identity theft (promulgated by spammers and malware authors) I understand the drastic step of blocking ALL EMAIL originating from a particular country has and is being taken in some cases by network administrators. Until today I hadn’t seen a tool that let individuals make this “block all emails from country X” decision. The fact organizations and individuals both are and can make this sort of blanket decision suggests an emerging (or perhaps already existing) communications divide for people living in those countries. I notice, interestingly, the United States is not on this list, but Canada and Japan both are. How many people are choosing to block all email messages from those countries, or from others? For people or organizations who make this choice, that is an example of draconian discrimination to be sure. I would be interested to read those statistics, if they are available. The fact some folks are doing this at all suggests a trend (suggested by some) of email’s growing irrelevance.
It seems email may, for many people, be on its way out as a primary communication method. Today’s ZDNet UK article “Facebook and MySpace may seal email’s fate” suggests online social networking and cell phone messaging are fast becoming preferred communication tools over email for many. According to the article:
More and more, social networks are playing a bigger role on the mobile phone. In the last six to nine months, teenagers in the US have taken to text messaging in numbers that rival usage in Europe and Asia. According to market research firm JupiterResearch, 80 percent of teens with mobile phones regularly use text messaging.
I still find email to be useful (certainly more-so now that I’m keeping my inbox clear with my iPhone) but other communication modalities are often better for me than email. Twitter and various other IM platforms (including Skype) now feature prominently on my daily information radar screen. Email is still there too, but the volume of spam is a major disincentive to me when it comes to actually LIKING email these days. Thankfully, tools like Pobox help that cause dramatically.
While email may be becoming more irrelevant for teenagers and older power-users of the Internet and other digital technologies, it certainly is NOT irrelevant for most K-12 teachers in the United States in my perception– and possibly K-12 teachers elsewhere around the world. The following is an annotated screen snap (thanks to Skitch) of my current podcast subscribers:
Note that 48% of all podcast subscribers are subscribed using Feedblitz, a free RSS to email service. Most U.S. K-12 teachers seem to be “email people,” not IM or social networking people today. I think this pie chart proves this. Email may be on the way out for some digital web users, but it is NOT “going away” anytime soon for teachers in our classrooms. (BTW, my new blog/podcast WordPress theme features a link for “email updates” prominently at the top. The trend I’m describing in this post is the reason that’s one of the large links at the top of every blog page.)
How does email figure in your daily routine of consumption, processing, remixing and creation of information on a daily basis?
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On this day..
- Remembering the Days of Kodachrome - 2011
- Digital boundaries are few and far between in Technopoly - 2010
- Google Documents introduces Templates - 2009
- Chaiwan, The Innovation Economy, and our need to Educationally as well as Economically Re-Imagine Ourselves - 2009
- Pocket camcorder first impressions - 2008
- Unstructured practice can be a key to excellence - 2007
- VoiceThread versus BubbleShare - 2007
- Make eBooks, webpages, quizzes and other content iPod-mobile! - 2007