Social Media Replaces Email and IM
In our social media trends post we suggested that people will use more social networks’ messaging instead of regular email and IM tools.
We haven’t seen any real research on this yet. In my opinion the convenience of using messaging tools without leaving the friendly social network will move a lot of email communication away from mail clients. I believe that this will happen mainly to personal email. When people talk to each other it’s only natural to use the tools that are right in front of you.
But not to fear, the email will stay with us some time yet. Businesses will continue to use email until some authentic way of private B2C communication channel becomes available for them on social networks. The second factor that keeps email alive is the rudimentary user experience of messaging tools in social networks. These tools are convenient but have only very basic functionality.
Now, a smart move for social media sites would be to include email in their environment. If a social network like Facebook would build a full-blown email client into its interface then Live, Yahoo and GMail would really have something to worry about.
In the instant messaging field the desktop apps have a lot more to worry about. The IM does not have 40 years of history behind it and the most used IM clients have only about 400 million users (Usage share of instant messaging clients). Well, in China they do.
The problems with social networks’ IM clients are similar to email. Rudimentary interface, lack of voice and video. But looking at my own IM habits it is not a problem as most of the communication is text-based and I don’t much care for the bells and whistles of the desktop apps.
Facebook can have a huge advantage by implementing these tools. So, what do you think when will we see the fully-featured email and IM clients in Facebook colors?