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Can Social Media take the place of E-mail in the Business World?

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At the moment, e-mail holds the all-important status as the preeminent forum through which business communication flows. We've all heard stories of executives who simply cannot disconnect themselves from their Blackberries, lest they miss something important. But Zeus Kerravala of the Yankee Group argues that soon, social media will replace e-mail as the go to apparatus for communication in the business world. He argues that such a switch is inevitable, and I certainly can't say I disagree. Social media is immensely versatile and customizable, and it is clearly the communication form of choice for younger workers. Businesses have already followed consumers into social media in an attempt to better connect with potential customers, and it is only a matter of time before they adopt such services to communicate among themselves as well.

Social Networking Will Supplement E-mail as the Primary Enterprise Communications Tool

Depending on how old you are, you might remember the days, years ago, when e-mail wasn’t our primary communications tool. Back in "the old days", the first thing I would do when I got to the office was check voice mail. The first thing I would when getting off a plane was check voice mail. I would sneak away from my family on vacation to go use the payphone to call into our 800 number to check voice mail. I couldn't get away from it.

Then somewhere along the line, e-mail came into our work lives and now I find myself doing the same thing. I check my Blackberry as soon as I get up, as soon as I get to the office, continually in boring internal meetings, and any other free moment I have. Like for so many others, e-mail dominates my professional life.

However, like the shift from the phone to e-mail, I believe we stand on the precipice of another change--this time to corporate social networking. Over time, more and more workers will shift their work habits so that the social networking interface will be the first place they go in the morning and the thing that's continually checked all day long, and here's why: