The postal service has been under threat for many years. Since the widespread adoption of forms of electronic messaging (primarily SMS and email) in the late 90s, the death knell has been touted as just around the corner for ‘snail mail’. In retaliation and, perhaps, preparation for the inevitable, long-time post guardian the Royal Mail (in the UK) has attempted to modernise and to diversify; to drag itself into the 21st century. But after listening to an interview on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning on my way to work, I can categorically say that the postal service will die. Soon.
It seems odd, and rather twee, to be writing something about the Royal Mail in 2013. But there’s a good reason. For within this interview, it was stated that the major threat to the postal service was email. Email: a form of communication that itself is in dramatic decline and has been for a couple of years now to the point where teens and tweens see it as almost archaic.
There was not a single mention of technologies like Facebook messaging, or Skype, or Twitter, or even text messaging, none of which are exactly new. A senior spokesperson at the Royal Mail stated on a couple of different occasions that email provides the biggest challenge to the postal service. Really? It felt like listening to a conversation from ten years ago.
And it’s this lack of nous that signals the end of the postal service, rather than the technologies themselves. To be so far behind the curve is actually pretty shocking. For an organisation that is in the business of communications to be hanging its hat on a competitive medium that itself is already past it betrays a rather depressing and infuriating lack of intelligence and understanding. And given that, I for one will not be bemoaning the day the Royal Mail closes its doors for the last time. Will you?
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Posted by Paul Sutton