Home Email Tops Facebook for “Keeping In Touch”? Not For Long

Email Tops Facebook for “Keeping In Touch”? Not For Long

Sometimes, I read a piece of news and I wonder to myself if I’m on the bleeding edge of what’s coming next or if I’m running miles behind the pack. Reading an article by eMarketer this morning that says that email still wins out over Facebook for “keeping in touch” has me wondering yet again where I stand.

According a survey conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey, 86% of people use email to “share content”, while just 49% said they use Facebook. As you might imagine, however, this is a stat that’s strongly split between age groups.

Only the youngest age demographic, 18-24 year-olds, uses Facebook more than email to share content, with Facebook getting 76% and email getting 70%. The next age group, the 25-34 year-olds, are close with the two services flipped – Facebook gets 70% and email gets 78%. From there, the two services split more and more and the age increases, with 97% of those over 65 using email and just 24% using Facebook.

When I first read the headline my reaction, as I noted above, was a sort of “who are these people?” questioning, followed by a moment of self-doubt. As Techmeme editor Mahendra Palsule notes, the real battle is not between Facebook and Google, but Facebook and email, and if you’re wondering who’s going to win out, “Just ask the 18-24 year olds.”

I couldn’t tell you a single friend’s email address, but I have more than 700 of them easily accessible from my Facebook account… and that number doesn’t even compare to those 18- to 24-year olds. Don’t get me wrong, email has its place and the whole “death of email” thread can be a bit overplayed, but when I think of sharing something non-work-related, its to Facebook I go.

As Palsule points out, email is inherently private and not really an area Facebook will endeavor to invest in – without social context, your content is a burden and a drain on its resources. The future, indeed, is in public sharing, tagging your friends in status updates, and one-off Facebook messages. The future is not searching through address books full of old, non-functioning email addresses that your friends abandoned because they became overrun with spam.

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