To answer this question one must look beyond statistics that show that e-mail usage and access frequency is trending downward. Studies show that e-mail engagement dropped 9-15% in 2010 and the number of visitors to e-mail based providers dropped 6% over the past year. Based on these number, the answer to the question – is e-mail dead? – would have to be a resounding YES!
However, looking at personal characteristics that influence one’s e-mail use and modes of access is critical in determining if e-mail is really, in fact, dead. I would consider your job/occupation/profession to be the two most influential factor that guides how you use e-mail services.
Stepping back from the question, I wanted to analyze my own use of e-mail – as well as how I access e-mail to provide a broader context and explanation of the reasons for the above noted statistics. With regards to my profession, I am a graduate student, no job at the moment, interning with limited responsibilities.
As a student, I most likely access and use e-mail from a traditional laptop or desktop more frequently than lets say a sales professional or attorney that travels 3 days per week. As a student I need options to store information and compose extensive, informational based e-mails and the ability to add multiple documents. There is no mobile app that would allow me the ease of use that a traditional desktop computer offers users. Would you want to or even attempt to compose a 500 word e-mail and attach multiple documents to an e-mail on an i-Phone – can you even attach multiple documents to an e-mail using an i-Phone? It would take you twice as long to do it on a phone as it would using a keyboard and computer – but then again, if you are an attorney that is traveling and a client demands a quick, “yes” or “no” response, the i-Phone is perfect – mobile access to quick information is what you need. In other words, your “use” of e-mail is not in question, the mode of access is the determing factor.
For a social service agency, knowing how your clients, donors, and employees use e-mail will be a critical factor in your success as opposed to whether or not your interested parties actually access and use e-mail. In the end, e-mail delivering information, services, and communications via e-mail is not going away anytime soon, especially as most agencies are still in 2.0 mode.
Don’t believe me? Check the stats:
If you are looking for an answer of “YES” to the question “is e-mail is dead” then I believe that you need to change the question – the question should be, “how do you use e-mail”…….and how can we best reach you?