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Email is Social, and it’s not Going Anywhere

SUMMARY: When consumers want to share something from the Internet with their friends or family, such as a video, link or article, what methods do they use? While social media is gaining ground on email, the latter still dominates as a sharing tool.

"Is _______ going to put an end to email?" It’s a question we ask every few years when a new technology comes along. RSS sparked the last wave of discussions and, of course, now it’s social. Will social media affect email? Definitely. Will it kill the medium? Far from it.

Email is the original opt-in tactic, while social and mobile are newcomers. And email works in tandem with most other tactics to increase engagement, deliver relevant content and build contact databases.



In the chart above, we take one view of how email is used to share information, because this activity is so central to social media sites. Email is dominant, even in this regard.

When we look at media use over the last 15 years, we see a pattern of aggregation and adoption rather than replacement. Some media suffer in the exchange, but none are eliminated entirely. More commonly, their uses become more refined.

For example, we may find that Twitter and Facebook gradually reduce our use of email to convey quick messages and content to social groups, but it’s far less likely that social media will replace email for commercial transactions, receipts and the like.

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