Email is going away? What do you think?
I saw a YouTube video where Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook states that email is "probably" going away.
I know that claim has been bouncing around the 'net for a few years now. Pretty much since social networks got a foothold and continued evolving. But it seems to me that a lot of those claims are being supported by snapshot observations about what the Millenials ("Generation Y") are doing today. As the rationale goes:
"...in the world of consumer technology, if you want to know what people like us (presumably old fogies) are going to be doing tomorrow, you (have to) look at what teenagers are doing today."
And, since the "latest figures" indicate that only 11% of teenagers email daily (presumably a mis-application of Pew Internet's study about Teens and Mobile Phones), it therefore follows that email is probably going away.
Does the Generation Dictate Usage? Or, Does Context Dictate an Age Group's Choices?
I wonder, is it really the case that the whole generation is defining how email will be used in the future? Or, is it more simply the case of an age group (which will eventually grow into new interests over time) reacting to the social and economic context they find themselves in? I mean, when all these talented young guys and gals grow into the business managers, department heads and C-level execs of the future, do we really believe that they will expect to be texting business proposals, meeting minutes and draft reviews, or pasting them onto "walls"?
On the flip-side, I can say that although I have a preference for eMail when sending proposals, meeting minutes and draft reviews to my business colleagues, I can also say that mobile texting or even some social networks are my preferred channels of communication when I'm "out and about" and coordinating a rallying-point with my friends. In short, my choices seem to be dictated by the context I find myself in at the time. Sometimes it's eMail; other times it's texting and social nets. My hypothesis is that it's that way, too, for the Millenials.
What do you think? Is eMail going away?
For my part, I think e-mail is still going to be around for a while. And, claims of email going away shouldn't dissuade you from continuing to build your e-mail lists. Don't get me wrong, I think social networks and social media will be around for a while. (By the way, isn't email a form of social media, too?) And what's more, both email and social networks can be used in complementary ways to build warm relationships that offer opportunities for your contacts to give their permission to receive additional email-based content from you.
I wrote some thoughts about that in Section 5 of my new eBook about Social Media Marketing Essentials For Small Business Professionals. Feel free to download it. It's free.
If you give me permission, I'll be happy to eMail it to you. ;)
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