Is email the new snail mail?
by Keris Lahiff
Email used to be the ultimate in breakthrough communication, a harbinger of the e-age and the favoured means of communication for workplaces worldwide. However, like the rare phone call or face-to-face chat, could email be moving towards a place as a niche method of communication?
Well, maybe not yet but the research is showing that for many younger users, instant messaging and social media is the new black when it comes to e-communication. According to US-based Pew Research Center, only 11 per cent of teenagers surveyed used email on a daily basis, compared with 24 per cent for instant messaging, 25 per cent for social media and 54 per cent for text messaging. Of those who used email, it was most likely to be used by teenagers to contact institutions or adults, rather than friends or peers.
Even Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has weighed in on the future of email, predicting that the future of e-communication will be chat, while email will fall by the wayside among younger users.
“Email won’t be as important a part as it was before and we can push people toward real-time conversations,” Zuckerberg told audience members at an event in San Francisco in November last year.
In fact, Gartner, an international IT research firm, predicts social networking services will replace email as the primary method of business communication for 20 per cent of employees in the US by 2014.
“In the past, organisations supported collaboration through email and highly structured applications only,” says Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner in a statement. “Today, social paradigms are converging with email, instant messaging (IM) and presence, creating new collaboration styles.
“The rigid distinction between email and social networks will erode,” she says. “Email will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering, while social networks will develop richer email capabilities.”
With the instantaneous nature of instant messenger applications such as Skype, gaining favour in many workplaces to discuss matters internally, it raises further questions of the place of email for modern users.
Published on: Thursday, March 17, 2011