July 2017

  • July 2017 The Death of Email is Greatly Exaggerated

    The Death of Email is Greatly Exaggerated


    I keep hearing that email is dead, or at least dying.  As a heavy user of that form of communication, that was pretty upsetting.  Why and when did that happen?  Say it ain’t so.


    What do I do now and how am I going to reach you?  How do we communicate with each other?  And if that is true, what comes next?  To paraphrase Mark Twain, “Rumors of the death of email is greatly exaggerated.”  However, this form of communication is certainly morphing along with the rest of our crazy world.


    We were one of the early adopters of email for communicating with our clients and followers.  But it wasn’t always easy.  About 12 years ago, perhaps only about 25 percent of our clients had an email address.  Today it is probably closer to 95 percent.  Twelve years ago those people with an email address also checked it regularly.  Now almost everyone has one, but they check it far less frequently.  A lot of that has to do with the volume of email we all get and the amount of junk that comes with it.


    Remember the good old days of “snail” mail?  How about actually hand-writing your letters?  Today, on the brink of turning 70, I look back on those days with great fondness.   It was always a thrill for me to collect letters from the mailbox and see who had written.


    During my years in the Army, long distance phone calls were very expensive, especially from a foreign country, and they were reserved for emergencies or special occasions.  Instead we wrote letters.   I would write letters to my mother, and later my wife, especially when I was overseas.  Yes, I wrote my mother regularly and looked forward to her writing back.  (Can we hear a collective awwwww?)


    Then snail mail died, or at least the letter-writing that connected us.  Email, at first, provided a similar intoxicating thrill.  Remember that first “You’ve Got Mail” that would pop up on the computer?  How about that initial “Send” sensation?  Soon, the rage was sending jokes and funny stories to our friends and family.


    And then came spam.  (Did we even know what spam was 15 years ago?  I thought it was a terrible meat in a can.)  We now have filters to weed out the worst of it.  But it goes well beyond unwanted junk from strangers trying to sell us anything you can imagine.  Sometimes I miss my friend the Nigerian prince who was willing to share millions with me for helping him get a fortune out of the country in exchange for my bank account number.  And let’s not forget the lonely Russian girl who wanted to be my friend.  Ah, the good ole’ days.


    But now it’s not just the crazy stuff.  It’s the volume.  We get dozens or hundreds of emails every day, and we simply can’t keep up.  If I don’t go through my emails for a few days, I find several hundred that accumulated in the inbox.  I know that most of it is junk, but unfortunately I have to go through much of it to see what is and isn’t.  I’m always afraid I will miss something important.


    Of course I realize that we add to those numbers, but we try to only send you something important or informative, and we will never send you any “special offers.”  In an effort to break through the clutter, we try to be specific in the subject line indicating what it is about.  I hope that at least helps.


    Like snail mail, email is functionally dead.  It just doesn’t know it yet.  Landline telephones at home, meanwhile, have been dead for years.  (My grandchildren don’t even know how to talk on a phone anymore.)  Do you answer the home phone if you don’t recognize the number?  The only ones who call me on it are the telemarketers.


    It seems that social media is how we connect these days.  It’s a more targeted way of communicating and developing community.  And it allows you to manage how engaged you want to be.  We don’t have a company Facebook page because the regulatory issues in my industry make it pretty complicated and probably not that effective.  We do have a website as a way to learn more about us.  www.nickmassey.com.  Check it out sometime.


    What comes next in the evolution of written communication?  Beats me, but we’ll just have to adapt as best we can.  My question to you is, “What’s the best way to reach you?”  We send out our newsletters via email and it seems that about half of the recipients actually open them.  While this is better than average in our industry, we want to do better.  And of course, many of you read it in “Edmond Life and Leisure.”


    In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and trying to send things that are informative, useful or entertaining.  Hopefully some of them are all three.  We won’t send you any junk to waste your time, and certainly no special offers for the investment of a lifetime in some far off country if you’ll just share your credit card number.  I wonder what ever happened to my Nigerian prince.  Thanks for reading.


    Nick Massey is President of Massey Financial Services in Edmond, OK.  Nick can be reached at www.nickmassey.com.  Investment advice offered through Householder Group Estate and Retirement Specialists, a registered investment advisor.