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Texting to converge with email (not replacing it)

I don't agree with Fred Wilson on his post today on texting beating email.  There is no question that short messages (texting, Twitter, etc.) are a big change in communications over the past few years, I don't see them replacing email.  Instead, I see a convergence.

Email is still far bigger than texting and has many advantages, including:

  • Complete interoperability across all carriers and platforms
  • Support for long and short messages, attachments, rich formatting, archiving, and access from all types of platforms
  • The ability for companies to have private messaging platforms for broader security while still connecting to the outside world
  • Far broader usage than texting

Instead, I see a convergence between texting and email.  Most texting users have an email address from their carrier (for example, if you have a Verizon cell phone, your email address is cellnumber@vtext.com).  I think that users will still prefer to have their messages in one place, and a 12 button cell phone isn't the right platform for retrieving and managing all your email.  So, I see email as the backbone, but much more intelligent clients coming out that allow better access to and integration with texting.

For example, you could direct or mirror your text messages to email for archiving, if you prefer.  And, you could forward your emails (or the first 140 characters) to a texting client.  Your email client will make it much easier for you to send text messages via an email UI.  And, texting could be expanded to include some email-like features on richer client platforms.

Fred cites that texting doesn't have a lot of noise today.  That's because it isn't widely used compared to email.  But, if texting 'beats' email, you can expect it to get as noisy.  Instead, texting should remain a way to keep in closer touch with your closer contacts.  And, it should integrate with email for better overall messaging management.


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