Is Email Really Dying?

The Wall Street Journal’s Technology Report (Monday, October 12, 2009), opines that “…Email no longer rules.”

No, it doesn’t. The dominant infocom paradigm — with the most rapid growth — is social media, as the Wall Street Journal piece explains. But what the article doesn’t go on to explain is that these trends come and go like lightning bugs. The “era” of Wikipedia may well be over. (Was it real or Memorex?). The “era” of Facebook may be over soon enough. The point is that while pronouncements of new eras and newly minted kings and queens of infocom are coming at us quickly — but the shelf lives of these new trends and paradigms may be rather short-lived.

Something is happening, sang Bob Dylan in the Sixties, but you don’t know what it is — Do you, Mr. Jones?

I’m not Mr. Jones,  but I am Mr. Brown, and I agree that something’s happening. What I’m not so sure about is that the Wall Street Journal, or anyone else, really knows what it is.

In this regard, because poetry is what Ezra Pound said it is — news that stays news — I am content to cite a famous passage from W.B. Yeats:

“Surely some revelation is at hand;


And what best, its hour come around at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

(“The Second Coming”)

Not that the wonky techno predictions of falling and rising empires is overtly religious or mystically Yeatsean. But scratch beeath the surface and what you’ll often find a mixture of religiosity, utopianism and secular millennarianism: The old and decrepit body (“a tattered coat upon a stick” wrote Yeats) shall be overthrown by the new and sexy beast.


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