Here's the deal, folks: I just counted, and over the course of 2011, I received around 162,000 emails and sent about 34,000. This is an impressive decrease from the previous years where I had a constant number around 200,000 coming in and 50,000 going out.
If I were to guess, I'd say that I've sent somewhere in the low thousands of messages via social media. These numbers made me wonder if other people were noticing a decline in their email use, and whether there was a correlation with social media use.
I took a look at a few articles and studies, and according to ComScore's 2010 Digital Year in Review, email use dropped 59% among Internet users ages 12 to 17 in 2010. Users ages 18 to 54 have reportedly turned away from email, as well — many are instead communicating through social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. An increase in email use, however, was visible in the 55+ age group, who used web-email 15% more in 2010 than in 2009. The report also went into detail on what sites people spent their time on: it illustrated that time spent on webmail sites declined while social networking sites increased considerably.
These numbers align with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's prediction, when he said, "We don’t think that a modern messaging system is going to be email," at a press conference in San Francisco. One article from Nielsen Wire refuted that there was a decline in email use but instead noted an increase, but also acknowledged that the increase may be attributed to social media, itself:
It actually appears that social media use makes people consume email more, not less, as we had originally assumed – particularly for the highest social media users. Intuitively this makes some sense. Social media sites like Facebook send messages to your inbox every time someone comments on your posting or something you’ve participated in, and depending on your settings, can send updates on almost every activity. Also, it’s perfectly logical that as people make connections though social media, they maintain those connections outside of the specific platform and may extend those connections to email, a phone conversation or even in-person meetings.
On the flip side, an opposing article, Who Says Email's Dead? explains that it isn't the death of email, but more of a shift:
Since the rise of social media many “experts” have claimed that email is dying and won’t exist in 10 years. In fact, email is not fading, it’s evolving. According to a new comScore study on U.S. consumers, the number of users accessing email via their mobile devices has been growing significantly every year. And email remains one of the most popular activities on the web, reaching more than 70% of the U.S online population each month, said another ComScore study.
Have you noticed a decline in your email consumption? As we enter a new year in this era of technology, what do you think will happen to email over the course of 2012, and so on?