Blog Post

Can Microblogging Platforms Help Reduce The Email Glut?

Twitter’s meteoric rise in popularity – particularly over the last year – has been widely covered, and indeed the simplicity and flexibility of the 140 character-based microblogging platform continues to attract people all over the world in huge numbers, while a thriving community of developers build add-on services using its open API. We’ve also heard a lot about the power of Twitter as a communications, promotional and marketing tool.

(via TechCrunch)

Twitter and other microblogging services are radically shifting the ways in which people communicate and share information. And that shift is now entering the workplace on a large scale, particularly for web workers and for companies who are embracing the ways in which microblogging platforms can save time while increasing productivity.

Yammer, which plays off the already classic Twitter call to action, “What are you doing?” by asking, “What are you working on?” is an easy-to-use microblogging service that is tailored to the workplace and organizations in several important ways.

As Hutch Carpenter boldly states, in a piece called Microblogging Will Marginalize Corporate Email, “As more companies take up microblogging with services like Yammer, Socialcast, and SocialText Signals, employee communications amongst employees will both increase and divert away from email.”

Carpenter then presents an equivalently bold image to illustrate how he believes microblogging can reduce the glut of email in the workplace.


Indeed, while I was at South by Southwest in Austin this past week, I heard people joke around to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if all emails had to be 140 characters or less?” Services like Yammer and Socialcast help to reduce the burden and overload that email brings to the workplace by providing the simple, flexible communication of microblogging with a number of specific work-related features.

While Twitter offers private accounts, services like Yammer and impose a higher level of security by locking each network down to only those people who have an individual company email address.

The additional draw of these services in comparison to Twitter are features such as tagging, archiving, groups, attachments and mobile compatibility.

The combination of content aggregation features and microblogging features also offers a powerful way for groups and organizations to communicate and manage tasks and workflow. FriendFeed Rooms is a great example of this, as it allows RSS feeds, messages, links, images and video to be brought into a “room,” or group page (which may be private/invite only or public), with each new post creating the opportunity for a conversation thread. New activity in the room (new threads, posts, comments or “likes”) can be observed by seeing which thread appears at the top of the page.

FriendFeed Rooms has the power to be a game-changer in the microblogging space, creating an easy-to-use yet powerful communications platform for organizations and web workers while helping to reduce email overload. For example, the contributing writers for (of which I’m a member) use FriendFeed Rooms as a primary point of contact and communication.

ididwork is one of my favorite microblogging services, as it provides a sleek and streamlined approach to short real-time communication and archiving while also providing managers with a great task management feature set. Particularly for distributed work teams, ididwork can provide a basis for communication, information management, and work flow while drastically reducing the headache of wading through hundreds of e-mails each day. ididwork for employees is free while ididwork for managers costs $5 per month.

Are microblogging services reducing the number of your work-related emails?

16 Responses to “Can Microblogging Platforms Help Reduce The Email Glut?”

  1. I feel that micro blogging is a great way to communicate, getting what you want people to know about out there in very little words. I feel that it will eventually take over email however if we want more information then we can choose to recieve more. Micro blogging is a perfect tool and one which I use as part of my online marketing stratergy.

  2. Another approach to reducing the email glut is to use online collaboration tools. Collaboration tools are specifically designed to do things which email is forcibly used to do – working together on files, consensus building, task management, discussions – causing the email glut.

    we recently did a white paper explaining how the email glut is caused by using it for things it wasnt designed for, and how collaboration tools help solve the problem. you could check it out @

  3. This is an interesting post. We have observed a reduction in e-mail usage in our company. We use collaboration software and desktop. desktop provides micro-blogging feature where one can put his/her status message in 140 Chars :). We have stopped internal sharing files in e-mail. we now submit the file to, every concern person receives a notification on desktop and if needed he/she comments on file right from the desktop, the comments gets attached to the file in threaded discussion fashion.

    At company level reduction in e-mail saves time and information clutter, because every reply-to-all message creates multiple copies of same e-mail with little comments from the sender.

  4. I agree Benjamin that there are now a host of communications platforms to choose from. The leading edge companies will, I believe, take steps to harness the power of social media to increase productivity.

    “Replacing” work-related e-mail, even in part, is a relatively revolutionary idea I’d say, so will be exciting to see where this goes!

  5. I don’t think email will ever be fully replaced, but it’s amazing to see the growth that social media and microblogging. I admit to logging onto Twitter several times a day from my webtop, to check in with colleagues and continue conversations. I haven’t checked out Yammer and but they sound interesting as well. Thanks for the tips!