The future of email is Twitter
The recent launch of Outlook.com has got me thinking about email. The new Outlook is pretty slick, but it’s a hassle to change email addresses. And email addresses are too complicated anyways. You have to remember a username and domain and TLD. This doesn’t correlate well to real life. We typically remember people as “John Doe,” not “John Doe from 6th Street in Austin.” So, why do we need email addresses that are firstname.lastname@example.org? It would also be nice to have everything in one place.
Twitter, or a platform like join.app.net, should offer an email-like service. It wouldn’t totally replace email, but I bet people would prefer it and ultimately use traditional email less. People can use a single Twitter handle, like @johndoe, for social networking and email. It can happen in three easy steps:
- Remove the character limit on direct messages. Status updates remain limited to 140 characters.
- Create a whitelist. The follow model remains, which eliminates spam. You only see updates from people you follow, and only mutual followers can correspond using direct messages. But, you say, I don’t want to follow Comcast just to get my cable bill. That’s easily solved. Create a whitelist. The user can manually add to the whitelist, or may authorize a service to add itself when signing up. Tired of annoying emails from Best Buy? Just remove them from your whitelist. People who don’t mind being contacted by anyone in the world can opt into accepting public direct messages.
- User-assigned hashtags. How will you organize emails? Just let users add hashtags to them.
That’s it. You can use a single, easy-to-remember online identity to post status updates, links, photos, check-ins, and to receive private direct messages from whomever you choose.