We ought not to heap reproaches on old age, seeing that we all hope to reach it.
As a social phenomenon, the end of email has been widely reported. The next generation doesn't use it. As a technical phenomenon, spam is a persistent threat. Spam's been a lot worse in the last couple of weeks (no doubt the reason I started thinking about these things); apparently the spammers have concocted a strategy that circumvents Bayesian filtering (it's only temporary, I'm sure, but the next victory in spam filtering is only temporary too).
Maybe I'm just too old to learn new tricks, but I want correspondence pushed to me (or I want the appearance of push, anyway) and I want to read and edit it locally, in the application of my choosing, not in some browser form.
It occurs to me that with a little work, Atom might function as a replacement for POP/IMAP and the Atom publishing protocol might replace SMTP. I can see a glimmer of how I might move forward while mostly preserving a couple of decades of work habits. As usual, the social problems are larger than the technical ones.
Google reveals that these are not new ideas, so this essay is little more than a chance for me to vent a bit (sorry about that). I'll see if I can sketch out some of my ideas in a little more detail. Or maybe I'll see if I can integrate Atom and the Atom Publishing Protocol into my Emacs mail reader…