Why email still matters in a social media obsessed world

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This guest blog post was written by Kim Z. Dale


We can tweet. We can Facebook message. We can Google hangout. We can even Instagram and Snapchat. With so many social media options with which to communicate does email even matter anywhere? Actually email does still matter and it will for a long time.

Facebook has over 1.11 billion users with about 665 million of those users accessing the site daily according to company records. That’s a lot of people, but it’s not all the people. If you rely on Facebook as a method of communicating you are excluding people who have quit Facebook, never used it, or rarely check it.

This article cites research from the Radicati Group stating that there are about 3.4 billion registered email addresses worldwide. Sure people have email accounts, but do they use them? A survey last year revealed that email to be the top activity on mobile phones and tablets. (Number two was checking news. Perhaps Angry Birds users where too busy killing pigs to respond to the survey.)

One reason for email’s continued significance is that it has a standard: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol or SMTP. That’s why emails can be sent between people with Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail accounts as well as people with accounts through their employers or on personal mail servers. You can send an email to anyone regardless of what they have following the @ sign. In contrast you can’t send a single message to people on different social media platforms. Sure, you can duplicate the content but then you have to duplicate your efforts to monitor responses as well.

Of course, email needs to have its own place in your communications strategy.

+Your messages can be more verbose, but your responses will be slower.

+Whereas a skilled community manager can post multiple times a day to social media accounts it is unlikely that multiple emails a day will be effective for anything other than getting people to unsubscribe.

+With many people feeling overwhelmed by the volume of email they receive it is important that you use meaningful subject lines that ensure your message gets opened.

For more perspective on why email will never die read this interview with Ray Tomlinson, the man who sent the first email.


kim z dale

– Kim Z. Dale is an information security and data privacy specialist and a playwright. She writes the Listing Toward Forty blog for ChicagoNow. Join her on Twitter (@observacious), Google+ (gplus.to/KimZDale) or Facebook (ListingTowardForty).

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