Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 by Michael
From eMarketer today…
The latest death knell for email was sounded by data in comScore’s “2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review” report, which noted a decline in time spent with web-based email among all US internet users under 55. Users ages 12 to 17, who have been most likely to drop email in favor of other online communications like social networking, had the steepest decline in usage, down 59%.
But web-based email checked at a desktop computer is only one slice of all email communications, and email represents an overwhelmingly important communications channel.
According to research from customer relationship marketing agency Merkle, 87% of internet users checked personal email daily in 2010, a number that has changed little since 2007. Among those with a separate email account for commercial email, 60% checked daily, down just 1 percentage point since 2008.
Further, social media usage is hardly taking away from email. Rather, social media users are significantly more likely than other internet users to check their email four or more times per day, and less likely to check infrequently…
I’m no expert, but it seems like it takes a loooong time for communication technologies to die. Radio, tv, newspapers, landlines, postal service, etc… all still with us in huge numbers… email too. Communication options are multiplying rapidly and the old stalwarts are not disappearing… shrinking in many cases… some would argue slimming down from eras of gluttony. This means lots of noise, lots of confusion, lots of splintering of audience. Businesses that can focus attention of groups of people and facilitate communication should be well positioned to provide value. Front Porch Forum is in the business of helping nearby neighbors connect and build community. We’re technology/channel agnostic, but we do know what attributes we like. More to come!
I think the most interesting trend here is the move away from the distributed model of emailing to a centralized model. Sending a Facebook message is a lot easier than old network of trust built on encryptions keys. I figured the network of trust was going to be attained with the adoption of open source tools like Thunderbird and the benevolent dictator of GMail but it simply never caught on.
I’m excited about decentralizing projects like Front Porch Forum, Local Wiki, Diaspora, etc. that are giving communities platforms that they can viably own without the risk of capitalists using the communities’ data as leverage for profit motives.
Bring back the distributed model, learn from our mistakes with email, and learn from what social networks are doing “right”. Keep it up Michael.