“You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” – Imagine, by John Lennon
It’s not uncommon for office workers to pine for the days before e-mail everywhere, particularly those workers tethered to the office 24/7 by the BlackBerry and its incessant e-mail chirps, buzzes or beeps. But maybe they can now start taking heart from the promise of a post-e-mail era.
Who else is dreaming with them? Well, Microsoft’s Outlook team for one. Microsoft’s Social Connector doesn’t quite put social networking on an even level with e-mail, but it’s getting pretty close: It crawls your social networks and even internal tools to present context relevant data right in Outlook, which for millions literally defines what e-mail is.
I use the term “post-e-mail” loosely and, even then, hesitatingly. For years, we’ve been promised the “post-paper” office, only to find that the proliferation of computers actually increased paper usage. But the importance of paper files certainly has decreased over the years, and by throwing social networking into it’s main communications mix, Microsoft is likely signaling that e-mail is likely taking the same path. In other words, your e-mail cup will still runneth well over, but you’ll have a wider selection at the bar to choose from.
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