Is E-Mail on its Way Out? Facebook and Other Means of Communicating May Cause its Demise

 

For years, there have been many claims that email is no longer necessary. Many companies are already replacing email by communicating through IMs and video chat. Facebook’s newest advances have been called the Gmail killer.  Could e-mail actually become a thing of the past?  If so, this could be a big hit to a lot of email providers. 

Campaign Monitor analyzed 12 months of data from its registered users/clients. Below is the e-mail client market share as of January 2010.

Email client popularity chart

There have been a lot of technologies that were considered a test of e-mail’s ability to withstand the competition.  Reachthepublic.com’s article stated those who believe that the top technologies have killed e-mail are naïve, “Instant messaging already killed email, then RSS killed it, then SMS, then Twitter, and now, finally, Facebook has killed it.  E-mail is the most frequently killed digital communication channel in history.”  This article noted that e-mail has several things to offer including being open to delivery outside of a platform that requires acceptance.

E-mail’s hold has been slipping.  Mashable reported that Nielson Online stats from 2008 showed that social networking has become more popular than e-mail. “According to the study, 66.8% of Internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1% for e-mail.”

Technologies come and go.  As new generations find new ways to communicate, old ways may be discarded.  According to sfgate.com “E-mail thrived, after all, because it was one of the first forms of Internet sharing for the masses. It is still the third most popular online activity, behind social networking and gaming, although younger Internet users are turning to other more immediate electronic communication forms, such as texting from mobile phones.”

The industry leaders are always hoping to provide the newest technology which may displace old technology.  Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t see a strong future for e-mail.  Zuckerberg stated, “We don’t think that a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail.”

How are other companies reacting to this?  According to sfgate.com, “With an inbox allowing more “social collaboration,” the transformation has already started within the businesses software market. Firms like IBM, Novell and Salesforce have introduced or are developing tools that combine social messaging, sharing and collaboration. Google has also tried to layer social networking into its Gmail service.”

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