Social Media defeats e-mail

Last week I read an interesting article about the use of social media in comparison with e-mail. Although I do find myself still e-mailing a lot (too much!) apparently e-mail is degrading to a secondary form of communication:

On the PC e-mail is still ruling for communication purposes. On the mobile phone however, mail has been surpassed by social media. From recent research executed by the UK-based company TNS it appears that we use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter a factor 1.4 more than e-mailing. On average we spend 3.1 hours to these services, whereas e-mail gets only 2.2 hours of our attention span. In addition, all respondents indicated that they will use much more social media on their mobile phone. The PC is being switched off.

According to the researchers the popularity of social media on mobile phones have to do with ‘instant gratification’, such as short messages being sent and read. Next to that, the variety of communication is appealing to many: public messages, private messages, video, pictures, status updates, geo-locations. Much more attractive than a simple e-mail. The number of users is increasing dramatically as well, mainly due to the enormous uptake of smartphones such as the iPhone or Android. It is expected that next year more smartphones are being sold than ‘normal’ mobile phones (shall we call them ‘dumb’ phones?).

The biggest users of social media are found in emerging markets by the way, such as Malaysia, Russia and Thailand. On average people in these countries spend 8 hours per week on social networks. In the west of the world this average is much lower. According to TNS this is due to the fact that we see the internet as ‘normal’, a given. In emerging markets people are grateful for each new form of communication.

Punch line of the story: we are a bunch of spoiled kids not realizing the power we have in our hands.

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