Is social networking a substitute for Email?

A six year analysis of Internet Activity Index was conducted. Can you guess which of the five areas (Commerce, Communications, Community, Content and Search) has grown the most—and which has shrunk?
The most surprising results actually aren’t in Community and Communications. Yes, email (i.e. Communications is down), the only area to fall over those six years. And Community is up, largely because it wasn’t being tracked in 2003.

No, the big winner here looks to be content sites and search. Percentage wise, search has actually grown the most, with a 111% increase in time spent on site over the 2003 numbers—but the raw numbers aren’t nearly so impressive.

Note, too, that total Internet time has increased 59% in those three years. Content sites now receive the most time on site (over half total Internet time), but communications is still the No. 2 activity. Community sites get one sixth of our online time.

I find the label “Communications” versus “Community” interesting. Most people, I find, are on community sites to communicate—whether with one friend or as many people as possible. Taken that way, the combined total time on those categories is 7 hours and 55 minutes—which beats content sites.

What do you think? Have you seen a decrease in communications and email, or do you think that’s kind of a false distinction from community sites? The point I feel thought is that you cannot compare email to social networking since they do not do the same jobs. The most important thing which makes email a winner over social networking is that attachments cannot be transferred over social network sites.

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