Will Social Networking at work kill off emails?

Using Facebook at work is no longer a ticking off?

Almost everyone working in an office at some point in their working life has been caught by their boss whilst having a sneaky look on Facebook, or Tweeting opinionated pieces of content. Oops.

Well, this may become a thing of the past as more businesses are engaging in office-based social networking, mostly as a way to find quicker and more efficient ways of communicating with each other.

Apps like Chatter, Slack and Yammer – as well as the pre-established giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – are all being tested as alternatives to the tried and tested Email, which may soon find itself as obsolete as the audio cassette or VHS if communication technology continues to develop with the current speed.

According to an article on the BBC Technology website, the market for what is known as “enterprise social software” is worth around $5bn in the States, and is expected to rise to $8bn by the year 2016.

Introducing Facebook at Work

While company intranets have been around for years, these new apps and services have the added bonus of being new and cool, with the biggest social network in the world, Facebook already has developed their own platform, Facebook at Work.

Having already cornered the social networking market with 1.4bn users, Facebook at Work is seen by many as Mark Zuckerberg and co.’s way to dominate the private and corporate side of the web, with companies being able to sign up and create groups, before chatting, creating polls and many other features.

Plenty of companies have signed up to the scheme already, citing emails’ ability to be clogged up, time-consuming and old hat as just a few of the reasons to find a new and updated model of communication within their businesses.

Royal Bank of Scotland announced recently that they will have all 100,000 of their employees hooked up to Facebook at Work in 2016, having rolled out a trial run this year.

Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s director of global platform partnerships, stated that “Facebook at Work will drive productivity just as much as ensure effective communication, before adding that Facebook “want to connect three billion employees worldwide.”

Is this the end of Email?

The familiarity and popularity of Facebook will make switching from email to the likes of Facebook at Work as an easy choice for some businesses, and for large corporations with 300+ employees – and those with multiple offices both nationwide and overseas – email could very well become obsolete.

But for the small business trying to get ahead in the world, with a handful of employees and whose clients still prefer to speak with them over with the phone or via email, these new and improved methods and communication are unlikely to take over any time soon.

Email is still incredibly popular with SMEs, freelancers, and many other businesses, with email marketing still one of the best ways to reach out and engage with customers using newsletters including news updates, competitions, discounts, and all kinds of other notifications.

What these new methods of communication have over email is that they create a sense of urgency. In a lot of our minds, social network notifications have to be answered immediately, whereas emails can often wait. Why is that? And is this a good enough reason to ditch email and make the switch?

It will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the coming months, and throughout 2016 as a whole. There are likely to be some heated debates about productivity (social media = distractions) and security (hacking) along the way.

What do you think about these new apps and communication technologies? Are emails going the way of the Dodo? Let us know via our Facebook and Twitter channels.

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