Why does email suck?

Email sucks

Founder of Digg, Kevin Rose says, email sucks.

Rose cites his stats: 938 unread work emails. 1002 unread personal emails.

I know the feeling.

My Gmail stats:

Inbox: 28175
Facebook: 8210
Twitter: 6136

I won’t even mention how many emails are unread. If you really want to engage me, send me a message in Facebook. Or tweet me in Twitter.

As I commented at James McCullough’s blog, Four Sides… the problem is the email app – not email.

Digg’s former CEO Kevin Rose is mistaken to emphasize email as the problem. Rose’s three sentence solution is a ruthless yet savvy approach for keeping up with the demands of accelerated communications in a high speed world.

But it doesn’t solve the problem of the out-dated email app.


In the not so distant past, I have argued that one driver of Facebook’s rise to almost universal appeal was how people use Facebook messages as a substitute for personal email. People effectively connect and communicate with friends and family though Facebook in a superior manner to personal email. Unfortunately for Google, Yahoo and Hotmail, Facebook effectively makes the generic personal email account so 2002. In other words, obsolete.

I’m sure that Facebook hasn’t figured this out as succinctly as I have stated it. But the move to Facebook mail addresses suggests that Mark Zuckerberg might have a clue – as hard as that might be to imagine.

Fforward this: The next step for Facebook is to make the messaging center relevant in terms of mail/message management. Done well, this would be the game-changer that would make Google less relevant. It very well could be an obituary for Yahoo.

A killer email app

The killer email app will be:

  1. Engaging
  2. So easy to set up filters that a dummy like me can do it in 1 minute or less
  3. Present decision-making information in a clear and actionable way

It’s that simple.

Who wants to build that with me?

Stan Faryna
17 March 2011
Bucharest, Romania

If you’d like to connect with me, follow @Faryna and tweet me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/faryna


About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.


Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission via Facebook. Or tweet me up me on Twitter.

One Response to Why does email suck?

  1. Four Sides says:

    I think Facebook has the right idea with their messaging system. You’re right in saying that people generally use it for more personal emails – my parents have even switched over to using it with me and my other siblings. I also like how they give you the ability to send a message as a text message from the prompt (in case there is someone who hasn’t turned on Facebook notifications yet).

    The problem with Facebook messaging system is that it doesn’t really solve the issue. People are still likely to send long emails, especially within the world of Facebook. Messages will take on a more social tone than a business/serious tone, and people love to chat. There is no way to really train people to be more concise with their text unless Facebook sets up restrictions. I could see them moving to cut down on the length of messages to keep it within 3-5 text messages in length, which would be a more reasonable amount of space to communicate effectively than the current 140 characters on Twitter.

    In regards to the email app, the Google Priority Inbox is a great tool that automatically filters out your email to put the ones you need to respond to in a separate inbox. It’s almost to the point where I scan through the non-Priority Inbox emails and check them off to delete. It’s that good. And it will only get better with time as it continues to learn from my actions.

Speak from your heart!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: