Is email past its sell-by date?

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Is email past its sell-by date?Almost everyone complains about email at some point or other – both for its overuse and its susceptibility to viruses, Trojans, phishing and spam. Despite this, it has many virtues – borne out by the fact that over 2.5 billion people now use it. It’s free, easy to access, has massive reach and doesn’t belong to anyone. It can be used to distribute virtually any type of file (which, of course, is part of the problem) and offers storage and forwarding facilities.

It’s likely that any genuine alternative to email would suffer from exactly the same security risks – in fact, existing messaging applications already do. To steer clear of malware users need to take basic precautions – think before clicking/opening.

To avoid email inundation, there are many other messaging systems available – such as SMS texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal, Slack and Microsoft Teams. Or just spend a half hour on fine-tuning your email filing and filtering settings, applying labels or tags to facilitate automatic organisation of emails. Another tip is this: in your search field, enter ‘unsubscribe’ – the results will include all the sales and marketing emails you’re currently subscribed to. Simply work your way through the lot, unsubscribing from those you no longer wish to receive.

But at the end of the day, it’s probably best to simply paraphrase Winston Churchill’s comment on democracy – email is the worst form of communication, except for all the others.