The End of Email


I gave a talk on Saturday evening at the Open Content Evening. I was nervous to start with as I haven’t spoken in public since my wedding last November. My talk had the dramatic name “The End of Email”. How could email ever come to an end? What a ridiculous proposition!

Whether we are at home or at the office, all of our inboxes are overflowing. Email has a huge impact on our productivity and I believe that Wikis can afford us the ability to reduce that effect of inbox overload by moving the conversation to the wiki.

Let me try to build a picture for you to show how wonderful wikis can be when used as communication tools within a business. A wiki is a Web site that can be freely edited by community members, enabling easier online collaboration and information sharing. Try to think of wikis as digital whiteboards.

I think of the wiki experience as Hive Living and liken it to the interaction between social insects like ants or bees. Hive living allows us to grow knowledge as a collective; I call this growing the Hive Knowledge. The idea of a knowledge hive is my own concept on wiki usage that I have been formulating. You will see me posting more information on the topic in the weeks to come.

Whether the Hive is Public or Private, Small or Big, SME or Corporate, wikis can provide us the ability to gather this collective knowledge more effectively therefore improving efficiency and productivity within the hive. Wiki adoption by the Hive may initially be slow or even scary to non-geeks, but people will get the hang of it. I am sure that once they do there will be no looking back.

Wikis are set to replace outdated Intranets and can become invaluable knowledge portals used to store just about any type of content. They are changing the way in which we store and access content or company information. It is easy to locate information using the built in search functionality that is supported by wiki software.

Here are few examples of the uses of a wiki in the workplace:

  • Documentation
  • Contact details
  • Contracts
  • Work logs

With all that in mind, try to stop sending emails for every bit of communication and thinking about using a wiki to help alleviate the inbox overload.

I would like to give a big thanks to Dave Duarte for encouraging me to do the talk, as well as all the people involved with the Open Content Party.

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LightSpeed WordPress Development

Traveller, extreme sports fanatic, entrepreneur, trance head and WordPress / Open Source geek.

2 thoughts on “The End of Email”

  1. Didn’t hear your talk, but don’t worry, I don’t think people will consider you a wild maverick prophet for predicting the end of e-mail. I attended a sneak preview of Lotus Notes/Domino 8 a couple of months ago (since then it’s been launched, couldn’t make it to the local event, was teaching a software course that day), and one of the speakers addressed exactly the same topic. His kids phrased it as, “E-mail is for grand-dads.” He made reference to numerous social networking and other ‘sharing’ sites, including all those which the typical GeekDinner crowd use on a regular basis, and explained how IBM were actively working on integrating all of that in their collaborative commercial software packages.

  2. Thanks for the comment Tania. I don’t consider the topic to be wildly maverick, but thought the title might catch some of the audience’s attention. The evening consisted of a range of different people not just geeks, so I tried to not get too technical.

    Good to hear that more people are turning on to the use of collaborative software.

    I have been using wikis for almost 2 years now and this year we have tried to shift the conversation to the wiki. Its working well LightSpeed. We are slowly but surely are reducing the amount of internal email. Soon we will be setting up specific wikis for specific clients allowing for better communication with them. I believe advertising agencies are great candidates for this type.

    We also use Google Apps Gtalk quite successfully at LightSpeed. Its made a huge difference to how I store and access my data.

    Thanks for dropping by!

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