Social Media Secret Weapon: Email

By Vinicius da Costa posted 06-06-2011 10:43


This week I received a link to an interesting post called “Social Media's Secret Weapon – Email”.  For those who know me I don’t have to say that I recoiled from the sight of the word e-mail. Specially coming together with Social Media, and even more when I saw it called out as its secret weapon!  That was too much for me and I almost lost consciousness.  Ok, you got the point.

Jokes aside (at least some of them), the article brings an interesting perspective of a current reality we can’t deny.  The culture of e-mail is still pervasive, and using it as a tool to help people transitioning into something more efficient is a good idea.  As I always say, e-mail has its place.  You give it to people you actually don’t want to talk to, like we do with our home phone number, which is primarily used by telemarketing and people we don’t know well enough to give them our cell phone.

In the post the author makes a clear statement that e-mail is a secret weapon to bring people to the Social Media space, but he never advocates the use of e-mail for collaboration and discussion.  I was disappointed that in many comments people seem to be confused about the message and used it to validate their ever growing e-mail usage.

I was amazed by the number of comments it has generated.  Can you imagine if they tried to use e-mail for that discussion?  Impossible!  I do agree e-mail alerts are still an important part to bring people to discussions, but it’s not used for the discussion itself.  That’s what probably happened with that post.  People got an alert but immediately jumped into the social capabilities for the exchange of ideas.

Since e-mail is a cheap way for the sender to try to engage someone, it will still be used without restrain – unfortunately.  Senders don’t account for the negative productivity impacts and related costs they generate in the other end.  A distribution list can’t even be used as a gauge for its effectiveness since most e-mails are deleted and there is no way to know who’s actually reading them.

At home or office we scan through envelopes and promotional material throwing 90% into the trash, but we no longer – for the most part – exchange letters or office memos using paper.  E-mail will be the same.  We will receive hundreds of them and delete 90%, either automatically through spam filtering capabilities or manually, but it will be barely used for collaboration, innovation and exchange of ideas.  96% of the e-mails sent to serious corporations never reach our inbox.  They are filtered by an anti-spam tool long before they even get to us.  So, for me it’s a stretch to call it social media’s secret weapon.

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Click Social Media Secret Weapon to see original post mentioned in this blog.

--- Vinicius da Costa is Associate Director, Collaboration and Social Media Solutions at Kraft Foods. This text represents his personal opinion and does not represent the views of Kraft Foods, Inc.

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