by J.D. Falk
I tend to chuckle at every new proclamation that email is dead. Google Wave won't kill it. Twitter and Facebook aren't killing it; they're using it. RSS didn't kill it. Instant messaging didn't kill it. "Push media" (remember that?) didn't kill it. AOL and Compuserve and Prodigy didn't kill it; they joined it. And before that, usenet and email lived happily side-by-side.
Over the years the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), the world's oldest and largest email advocacy organization, has also predicted the death of email. Some day, we've said, we will reach a tipping point where spam finally makes email unusable for regular people. And for any people who doesn't have good spam filters, that's already happened. Avoiding email's death by spam has given rise to the spam filtering & security industry, and the equally powerful mailbox hosting industry. It has elevated open source projects like SpamAssassin from curiosities to necessities. I've lost count of the number of hardcore geeks who've finally given up on running their own severs, and moved their personal mail to Gmail.
Through these efforts, and these small personal concessions, email survives. But it's not the same, and I'm left wondering if a part of email has died.