Is Social Media Cutting Down on Email?

It seems media keep pointing to social networking as the place to be, resulting in a decreasing reliance on email.  Since prior complaints about productivity blocks concerned the amount of email with which we have to contend, that might be a postive thing.  But is it true?

Do not yet discount the importance of email in our lives.  A poll of college students (that group most likely to be involved in social networking) shows they still regard email as the more critical method of communicating.

What ranked as important on their “Can’t live without…”  list, according to the Participatory Marketing Network and Pace University’s Lubin School of Business’ IDM Lab (10/20/09) ?

  • 26%, Checking, reading, and sending email
  • 26%, Text messaging 
  • 15%, Watching TV
  • 11%, Talking on the phone 
  • 9%, Visiting social networking sites
  • 7%, Reading magazines
  • 6%, Visiting websites other than social networking

More research, from ExactTarget (10/14/09), showed that social networks were not cutting the time Internet users devoted to email.   The reverse was true.  Those more heavily involved in social networking were also using email more.

What does all this say for businesses?   Last year, social media use by businesses with fewer than 100 employees doubled to 24% from 12% according to a study University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and Network Solutions LLC (January 2010). 

Before businesses put too much of their effort into social media as a marketing tool, be sure to evaluate the results. A headline in the Wall Street Journal on 3/16/20 states, “Entrepreneurs Question Value of Social Media:…Hype Right Now Exceeds the Reality”

 A separate study by the same group above (University of Maryland and Network Solutions) found that:

  • 22% made a profit from social media marketing
  • 53% broke even
  • 19% lost money

Be sure you have a method for evaluating the results of your marketing efforts in the social networking arena. 

Meanwhile, email will continue to be a focal tool in productive work flow.  Your employees should have the time management training that keeps it from becoming an overwhelming part of each day.


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