From Me To You

02/09/2014 //

I’m sure I’m not the only one getting a bit tired of MC Siegler and his ilk complaining about e-mail. We get it, you want us to use something else, and preferably – I’m just taking a wild guess here – a service you’ve invested in.

[E-mail’s] the worst thing ever for about a billion reasons.

Siegler famously invested in Path, which was hard to miss if you read tech news, since he kept shilling for it. Later, Path proceeded to copy all the users’ contacts and spammed them all with requests to join the service, even after users deleted the app. (Nobody likes Path very much anymore.)

Here’s the thing about e-mail, though: I can open an account with Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and a score of others; I can even host it myself if I want. (I do). Once I’ve done that, I can send e-mail from any of these services to any of the others, including the self-hosted one, and the recipient will get it, regardless of provider. Unless, of course, you live in a dictatorship or some hacker suspects you have nude pics lying around or you can’t figure out how to set up IMAP. Even so.

Twitter, Path, Wattsapp, GTalk/Chat/Hangouts/Facebook Messenger make up just a tiny selection of messaging services out there, and while they’re often based on the same technology, pretty much none of them can actually talk to each other, thanks to the proprietary stuff that gets added. Superior communication platforms, my ass!

The one thing I’m pretty sure of is that e-mail will still be around when all these other services have gone to seed. E-mail is universal and open. This is frankly fantastic, and unsurprisingly, came around before the whoring out monetization of the Internet.

Sure, e-mail isn’t great for everything, and yes, it can be clunky, but it was born of the open Internet and after all these years, it still delivers on the promise of limitless, instantaneous communication these other services promise – and fail – to deliver. All this, and not a walled garden in sight.