Twitter is a useful tool, and because of its success and the success of other social computing sites like Facebook and MySpace, some have claimed that email is dead. While I will agree that the advent of these new services has changed the use case for email, I believe email still has many, many years before we send it out to pasture.
Case in point: tonight, Twitter is down. Down for everyone, as reported by the ever useful downforeveryoneorjustme.com web site. The funny part about the screenshot here (and why I took the screenshot) is that right after the site reports that Twitter is down, it asks you to follow it on Twitter! Irony aside, this also illustrates how ubiquitous Twitter has become as tool to reach people on the Internet. Most web sites these days have a Twitter badge on the contact page right next to (or even in place of) the “email us” button.
It’s hard to imagine that Twitter will be down for days or even hours, but the point is that it is down. For everyone. Does email ever go down for everyone?
Email may “go down” for you, and maybe even for your entire domain, but for email to be down for everyone it would literally mean that the Internet is down for everyone!
Why? Because nobody owns email. Anyone can set up an email server — and millions have. Email is distributed.