Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Email and Social Media - part 1

I was recently chatting with colleagues about the use of social media and email. Eventually, in some Orwellian fashion, it distilled down to the following thought: Social Media = New, Email = Old

This thought has been validated by the recent report in the New York Times that there is a generation of difference between the usage of Social Media platforms and email. With the surprising statistic that “In the last year, time spent using e-mail sites like Yahoo and Hotmail has fallen 48 percent among 12- to 17-year-olds”
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/21/e-mails-big-demographic-split/

It seems that in the hyper-modern world we live it, where new is typically better, email doesn’t come out of the situation too well with young people. But why is this?

Perhaps because it has been around so long, it’s no longer considered part of the digital revolutionary’s armoury. (Note: We still consider it part of the “Digital Toolkit” we use for client projects at Ideal Interface)

For example… How can a cutting edge online consultant even think of suggesting a technology that is almost 30 years old? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email) . Especially when there’s the new sparkly social media set of: blogs, wikis and social networking sites out there! What sort of consultant in ‘new’ tools and processes would they be if they suggest something even your gran now uses?

Or maybe it’s perhaps it’s because email is the most ubiquitous online business tool we have in the modern word (being even more popular than MS Office IMHO!). Forget Facebook with its 500+ million users, email is used by far more than that (the most recent statistic I can find is about 1.2 billion, this was from 2007, but there may be a more recent figure than that). In fact, the one thing you need to sign-up to Facebook to initially prove who you are… is a working email address! And don’t forget just how many email notifications you get when you participate in social networks.

Basically, email has fallen out of favour despite being such a powerful marketing tool.

So doesn’t email just need better PR?
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