With all the buzz around social media (and notably so), industry analysts are declaring email a thing of ‘the past’ and that social media applications, namely sites like Twitter and Facebook, will take over as our online method of communications.
As technology evolves, it drives the habits of consumers. Remember the Betamax vs. VHS fight? That was followed by Blu-ray beating out HD DVD. Sure, those examples clearly show that a player got wiped out but I see it more as an evolution. The emergence of train-plane-automobile didn’t stop people from walking or biking. They evolved as travelers’ needs changed and were presented as choices.
With the advent of email, snail mail was predicted to die. Agreed, we don’t post as many personal letters; however, sites like eBay, Amazon and Etsy rely on getting mailed goods to consumers. Mail providers evolved to meet and adapt to these changing needs. The same thing goes for email. Now when I’m thinking of reaching out to someone I am presented with several choices: I can send an SMS, a tweet, a Facebook message or wall post, or an email. Depending on my need, I will choose the appropriate medium. Email is universal, whereas not all my friends/colleagues/family use the same technology.
We still need an email to register for most sites: Email is like our online digital passport: it gives us access to these sites and serves as a means of identifying and validating ourselves online. I have yet to see a site that doesn’t require some sort of email validation for signing up.
The ‘pull’ factor: Email is still used to draw us back to these sites. For every Facebook wall comment or photo tag, and every direct message I get on Twitter, I get an email notification that draws me back to those sites. The Radicati Group predicts that ‘Worldwide, email traffic will total 247 billion messages per day in 2009. By 2013, this figure will almost double to 507 billion messages per day.’
Email is a long way from being extinct. Your thoughts?