A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published a piece about how e-mail's reign as the king of online communication is over. Author Jessica Vascellaro didn't decree the death of e-mail, she just argued the constant stream of updates social media services like Facebook and Twitter provide are more in sync with today's permanently plugged-in approach to the Web.
A week or so after the WSJ piece, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg predicted at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that the future of the Internet lies in social networking, not searching capabilities. Sandberg reasoned we want our information from our friends and sources we trust -- or, I guess what Ed Keller and Jon Berry call "The Influentials."
So, we could surmise search and e-mail are fading, social media is rising. But, right around the same time Sandberg was sharing her insights, a survey of 203 participants between the ages of 18-24 by The Participatory Marketing Department and Pace University showed e-mail is still incredibly important in the lives of young people. According to Mashable, Gen Y would be more reluctant to give up e-mail and text messaging than social networks.
And, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's April survey, 90 percent of Internet users have used the Internet to send or receive e-mail and 88 percent have used a search engine to find information. Those are some strong figures.
At the end of the day, whether you are working for a commercial, government or some other entity looking to reach an audience via the Internet, discounting any means of communication is going to run the risk of disenfranchising a segment of your audience.
Besides, not everyone feels social media is the glorious wave of the future. Check this out.