business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

There is no surer sign of today’s frenetic pace of change that the realization of how quickly a technology passes from gee whiz to groan or a phrase moves from offering joy to causing eyes to roll.

In the late 1980s the notion of getting email was so welcome that the famed America On-Line greeting, “You’ve got mail,” could hold its own as the title for a romantic comedy. But back then, AOL was THE internet (remember that?) and the notion of getting email could actually make us happy.

Not so much any longer. Now, most of us probably drop more emails into the spam folder unread than we ever thought we might receive back in 1989.

This shift should make you question whether your marketing and communication efforts are keeping pace.

Because basically today no one wants to hear “you’ve got mail.”

BBC Capital wrote recently about the stunning change in communication, dumping e-mail in the dead letter pile, as texting has taken over. As the BBC article explained, texting is now viewed as the fun way to communicate. Email, on the other hand, is where you get endless offers from companies, spam and, of course, a pile of unwanted messages that await you every single time you are out of the office for a single day.

In other words, texting is fun and emailing is homework. A number of university professors interviewed by the BBC offered an important glimpse into the future. Students, they say, view email as formal communication, whereas texting is personal and humanizing.

That’s a message we all need to listen to before we run out and ruin texting now. (Just think of how jaundiced our view of social media became in the blink of an eye. Facebook went from fun to marketing to cynical in a sprint.) More than ever, businesses need to understand these new forms of communication to avoid missing entire population segments.

But it’s just as important to understand how to avoid improperly or overusing those new links to keep yourself out of the spam pile and to make sure you are viewed as important, useful and trusted. And let’s remember that email’s fate is sure to hit texting at some point if it gets overused and marketed.

Already we see how networks like SnapChat, What’sApp and Instagram are winning the traffic lost by Facebook and others. Staying current never has been easy, it’s just that much harder when the target audience moves so incredibly fast.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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