Monthly Archives: August 2010

Long live email!

You may have heard that the use of email is shrinking due to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Add to that the deluge of spam or virus-infected emails floating around the net and the prediction starts to look promising. In addition, other technologies are gaining more and more ground such as skype, texting, and online calendar programs.

There are many reasons for the increased reliance on social media, including increased control over which messages you receive, the one-stop-shopping experience of an outlet which includes businesses, groups, clubs, and your entire social circle, and of course, let’s not underestimate the draw that an ever-changing platform like facebook can have for users simply for the sake of flashy new features.

So I have to ask, is email, once the height of information transfer technology, going the way of the pony express?

Email is by no means a perfect system; between spam (whether virus-infected or not), repetition or boringness of information in emails, and the sheer volume of messages that can accumulate when using a free instant digital medium for communication, lots of problems are likely to arise. Most internet-savvy users are able to control the settings of their email programs and personalize them so that they don’t encounter these issues, but for those who don’t know how or just can’t be bothered to do so, email can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help.

One important thing to remember is that the trend of increasing reliance on social media is not, generally speaking, a trend among businesspeople. While some smaller businesses do exist solely on sites like facebook, the vast majority of businesses that have a facebook page also have a main website and the facebook is simply an extra outlet for users who choose to recieve information primarily that way.

Despite the longevity of these predictions, email is still winning out. A study by iModerate Research Technologies found that 86% of consumers who send information over the Internet do so primarily through email. Facebook and Twitter, however, are dragging behind with 49 and 4 percent respectively. One reason for this high number of emails may lie in the age of the users; consumers over 35 are overwhelmingly favoring email at 93% usage, while even among the most Facebook-savvy age group — 18-24 years — 70% of users are still preferring email.

One reason for the continuing dominance of email may be its usefulness in online marketing. 37 percent of shoppers prefer email as the delivery method of promotional offers with only 9 percent favoring social media, according to eMarketer. In fact, social media is dead last on the list with Mailers in second place at 23 percent followed by text messaging and in-store with 18 and 11 percent respectively.

While the numbers will likely continue to grow in the favor of social media as it continues to grow, the fact that email is still by far the dominant form of online information transfer suggests that it will remain so for a long time to come.