Morgan Stanley yesterday released its latest Internet trends report.
In the PDF version of that report, which is a nice collection of stats and graphs for your next PowerPoint presentation, there is a graphic that shows that, from a communications perspective, social networking has surpassed email.
The graph, that is based on comScore data, clearly indicates that social networking usage surpassed email.
This finding is not new. End of last year, I wrote that in interpersonal communications, social networks (especially Facebook) have become more important than email for many people.
You might also want to take a look at what Gartner said in February.
What is the “secret” of social networks, with Facebook taking the lead? That they allow you to post status updates, do wall postings, chat, send email etc.
The same pretty much goes for every social network, even LinkedIn: I personally often mail people via LinkedIn and Facebook.
Welcome in the era of unified and anything-channel communications
And then there is VoIP of course: making calls over the Internet. You can do it with many Instant Messaging systems, and you can do it with Skype, for instance. With Skype, you can also chat. With your mobile you can send text messages, you can mail and if your mobile is a bit up-to-date you can chat with it, post status updates on Twitter and on Facebook, etc.
Why am I saying all these obvious things? Because we live in an era of unified communications, people.
Businesses know what that means but in interpersonal communications, it is the same.
The interconnection of all the online communication tools, makes it almost impossible to track the usage of a specific medium.
What am I doing when I send you a mail via Facebook? Am I using a social network or am I using email?
The data from Morgan Stanley’s report, as always, lead to conclusions, predicting the end of email.
Blame it to the cloud
I cannot emphasize enough that every communication channel is used under different circumstances and for different purposes and that it is about convergence and the fact that we, and especially younger generations, use several communication channels at the same time.
The very same report of Morgan Stanley, for instance, shows that the usage of email is still on the rise.
So, again it is not a black or white story. It is about the ‘grey zone’ (clouds often are grey too…) in which everything is connected and the borders between media disappear. We communicate more, mainly ‘online’ (which is something we can regret), and we don’t care what channels we use, we pick those that we prefer.
Just this small thought to conclude. Where do you think I get notified when someone tweeted me a direct message via Twitter, replied to a mail I have sent via Facebook, commented on a blog post or sent an invitation to connect via LinkedIn?
Right, in the inbox. I guess Facebook is not planning an emailing system à la Gmail for fun, do you?
Will Facebook be the ‘super-connector’, will it be Google, will it be our own blogs, will it be some service we have never heard of or will it be email and, in the end, does it matter? Do we need a ‘super-connector’ that brings everything together?
We are living in the cloud. The center of the cloud is not a platform. It’s you. With the devices, you use today (PC, mobile,…) and will use tomorrow.