Social Media Revolution: The Death of Reply-All

Bill Jobs is the most brilliant member of the smartest team in a leading organization.

Today he’s closing yet another large deal to implement his company’s Cloud based warehouse management system in a premium environment. But he’s running late…

While he had preferred to do the final demo remotely, the buyer is “old-school” and insisted on meeting at a Kelsey’s on the ground floor

of his office building in downtown Toronto.

Bill scrapped the ice off his windscreen, shoveled the driveway and drove as fast as he assumed he safely could down the street of his

North York home. Thirty minutes into the drive, about halfway to the meeting (which starts in 20 minutes), he barely slows for a “Four-Way-STOP” sign, (the car would have slid thru anyhow), he’s slowed to a stop on the other side by the flashing lights of a police cruiser that was smugly behind the snow banks in a private driveway.

After a twelve minute wait, the officer finally approached a surprisingly calm Bill who greeting him respectfully, explained that he was

hurrying for a reason, but too late now. He’ll take his ticket, and detour to a café around the corner. He offered the officer to drop by for a coffee when he’s ready for a warm-up break. The officer gave him a stern warning, declined the coffee and sent him on his way.

Bill took the opportunity while stopped, to get out his car and with a phone call, encouraged a reluctant client to log into a secured

sandbox they had created for the project.

At the café, Bill started a conference with his client and team, logged on and started to demo his product in action.

Then the law of IT, that is “Murphy’s Law”, struck.


The demo system showed that somehow the warehouse had moved a pallet of product that was for the sandbox into actual production.  The sandboxed product had been shipped and was now sitting on the shelves of a major retailer and partner of the client.

While impressed that the application was able to track this with ease, the product had been allotted a different pricing scheme as it was

the feature for a major marketing campaign set to rollout in two days. The retailer’s store opens in 20 minutes and his shelves were stocked with the client’s new flagship product without proper pricing and no marketing.

Bill with the receding skeptical approval of his client used the B2B features in his product to co-ordinate with the partner retailer the

price changes in their point of sales systems and updated their accounting. Bill then used the Social Collaborative features to co-ordinate with the client and retailer’s marketing team to roll out the sale event for that product as a special pre-view at the retailer’s store.

This included rolling out a Twitter campaign and coupons available exclusively to customers who have downloaded the retailer’s Mobile


The client was impressed. All the products were sold off within hours, and they had to emergency ship stock to satisfy the demand. (Interestingly a competitor’s similar product launched the following day. However by getting first to market, Bill’s client had gained and

retained customer loyalty.)

Connecting via Social Media.jpg

Feeling really great about his morning, Bill flipped over apps to check his corporate email.

What he saw amused, bemused and angered him… a full blown (category 5)  “Reply AllEmail Storm”

His inbox was inundated with hundreds of emails with the same subject line, which he figured had nothing to do with him.

He tabbed thru a couple…

“Please quit replying to all” > [Click – Reply All]

“Lets NOT begin a Reply All thread please.” [Click – Reply All]

“Please remove me from this list” > [Click – Reply All]

“Me too!!!” [Click – Reply All]

“Please can you restrict response to the people in question – Thanks! “[Click – Reply All]

“Here’s a Cat with a pancake on his head!” [Click – Reply All]

“PLEASE STOP REPLY TO ALL!!!… About the cat, did anyone already eat it?” [Click – Reply All]

Propelled by his anger, and some of the high he was on from success of the meeting earlier, Bill opened one of the emails, typed the words

“For the love of God please stop replying to all!” and click the infamous [Reply All] menu button…

Realizing his goof, he scrambled to “Recall”, but the “unable to recall” receipts made it clear to him that his ingenious notoriety was already blown to **** by the virtual grenade that he had lopped into the lap of his professional reputation.

The hatred that had suddenly built up in Bill for “Reply All” was only eclipsed by his yearning a Cloud Collaboration application he became familiar with while working on his clients project.

His client and their retail partner used Jive 7.

The application provided them with an integrated internal and consumer social web. Internally it integrated with their core work tools, including Outlook and Salesforce. Communication is held in a virtual collaborative eco-system where team members were able to track the reach, impact, effect and interactions resulting from their communicated efforts.

There was no need for “read receipts” to confirm who read what, since Jive “impact” feature include the tracking of views and reactions. (No more “I didn’t get that email to update my “Skills Assessment” or “Holiday Timecard Reminder”) There was no need for “Message Recall” since, one could delete a thread.

But best of all, there was no Reply All.


John Stamp



About the Author: John Stamp