Friends have launched the beta of their email based web app, 9cays. The basic premise is that you CC a special email address and then get a plethora of added features for a conversation, such as online archive, RSS feeds, and the ability to add new participants. (see example)
It is somewhat similar to a (almost) zero configuration Yahoo Group.
I’m in agreement that email is in dire need of innovation, and the people behind 9cays are some of the smartest I know. Their service definitely makes group email, and group organisation, easier.
However, I’m not convinced that email itself is the way to progress. I find that I’m using email less and less. My main form of receiving information is via RSS, be that news, information, or the fact that one of my friends needs help to build a house.
In terms of sending information out, I tend to use instant messaging where possible, and SMS if not. Email is something I use for people who haven’t moved on.
At work, one of my teams moved from email, to email lists, to a wiki, to internal blogs. Everyone is now subscribed to each other’s internal blog and we are using it as a collective information store. There is definitely a problem with information management, and as yet no solution. (thingamy notwithstanding)
My thinking is that RSS management needs to become easier. Notification of things that are important to me among hundreds of feeds needs work. I’m not sure what is missing yet, but there is something, and it has to do with priority and context.
9cays are making a start, and in their usual manner have built a large platform behind the scenes. What is visible is merely the tip of the iceberg. I’m watching with interest to see what emerges next.