Unbreaking email

email icon

Is it really possible that in January 2014, email might be becoming a 'thing'? How come clever, engaged, experienced internet professionals are playing with email as a channel? Surely email is the enemy, the burden, the channel that floods our lives with a joyless deluge of spam, phishing requests, bad news and work.

There's something good and unexpected about this re-engagement with such a maligned format. When companies are spending millions developing highly sophisticated consumer databases and differentiated CRM strategies to target specific groups with 'personalized' email communications, the simplicity of the tinyletter approach - 'email for people with something to say' - harks back to a more innocent time.

Putting the value back into email is a worthy ambition. Email should be good. Everyone uses it. Everyone understands it. Everyone has an inbox and knows how to hit 'open', 'forward', 'reply' and 'delete'. Perhaps it is possible to make email feel intimate again, to make it feel like real, you-to-me interaction. Like communication instead of marketing. Wouldn't it be lovely if one could look forward to receiving new mail, if the presence of unread items was a delight to be anticipated rather than a chore to be endured?

Instead of coping with email, let's try loving it. It might be the next big thing.