Is E-Mail Dead?

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?


One thought on “Is E-Mail Dead?

  1. Good post – you and a couple other students are getting to the heart of the matter. It’s not so much the channel we use (email, social media, etc), it’s more about the device on which we receive it! Your discussion of “what’s the best way to reach you?” is even broader than email or not email. It’s also about those smart phones and tables versus the cell phone of the past.

    I am interested in watching the way the device has changed our communication experiences. I am now sitting at my iPad with the wireless apple keyboard. Hummmmm. Maybe we need to take the Web 3.0 more seriously.

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