My millenial-age daughter can really let the email pile up. But she's not substantially different than the rest of us who fall behind from time to time. Corporations who 'ban email' are actually attacking a lazy employee habit of using email to avoid teamwork. We've all done it. "I'll just send out an email and then I can say I tried."
Email is NOT a single thing, it's a much-abused platform. Alexis Madrigal makes an important point that it's very much the successor to the letter (or within a corporation, the memo). He also makes the point that email clients (Outlook, GMail, Boxer, Apple Mail, etc.) have been able to improve our ease-of-use because email is an open platform. And the searchable email is dramatically better at perserving information in a useable form.
Of course, email isn't the right medium for every message. When writing an email, you have to think about the end-user and how they would like to receive the message. In its persistence, flexibility, searchability, and shareability, you have to honor the email format. Use it to serve the reader.
The Atlantic: Email is Still the Best Thing on the Internet, 2014-Aug-14 by Alexis C. Madrigal
And what's changing isn't a product that must be rolled out to all users, but an ecosystem that provides niches for all kinds of different emailers.
Perhaps the way, then, to recover some of the old web, before the dominance of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, isn't to build new competitors to those companies, but to redouble our use and support of good old email.
Email—yes, email—is one way forward for a less commercial, less centralized web, and the best thing is, this beautiful cockroach of a social network is already living in all of our homes.
Now, all we have to do is convince the kids that the real rebellion against the pressures of social media isn't to escape to the ephemerality of Snapchat, but to retreat to the private, relaxed confines of their email inboxes.