Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Death of Email

In the last column I wrote about the death of the US Postal Service. The problem is, the USPS doesn’t realize it yet. Everything the USPS does could be done better and cheaper in a different way but our leaders haven’t quite grasped what that means yet. They are still trying to sell us 8-tracks in an iPod world.

Well, now I am here to announce the death of email.

You thought email was to be the replacement for the USPS and faxes and it is, or rather it WAS. There are now over 3 billion email accounts worldwide and over 107 TRILLION, with a T, emails sent in the same year (2010). You correspondence can be sent in a fraction of a second to anywhere in the world. The average businessperson sends 33 emails a day. Sounds like a thriving business, a thriving new enterprise to get into. But just like the USPS is a dying media or brand; so is email.

Consider this: in 1985 90% of all emails sent were personal correspondence or business related. Today that number is less than 8%. 89% of all emails sent to you are SPAM (unwanted advertising and viruses) the majority of which are pharmaceutical promotions. While seniors are using email more (up 28%) teens are using email less (down 59%). America is getting less and less ONLINE, in fact, AOL reached its peak in 2004 with 23 million subscribers and in 2010 in is down to a mere 4 million.

So we no longer send “snail mail” through the USPS and we are leaving email by the millions; so what is next? Next seems to be the new social media of Phone texting, Facebook and Twitter. From 2004 to 2010 Facebook has grown from 1 million to 800 million users. There are over 36 billion photos shared on Facebook and over one TRILLION comments, likes, or status updates. Twitter, unheard of in 2004, now has over 25 billion “tweets” or comments posted in 2010 and is growing exponentially. Texting has become an epidemic among teens with phones being used for texting 1200 times MORE than as a phone.

So now you just got this email thing figured out and it is already obsolete. I can see a new genre of Americans moving back to Amish country to get away from the electronic tsunami. Everything is changing but, again, the question is: is it for the better? Hard to judge at this point. I know I “communicate” with more people in the new media than I EVER would by snail mail. But I also know it is easier for me to hide from REAL FACE TO FACE interaction because of the “social” media. I know my nieces and nephews better through Facebook but do I REALLY know them?

So I have Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Linked-In, and texting on my phone along with my 5 email addresses. You cannot hide from me … nor I from you. I think I got a handle on it … wait … what is this angry bird thing?

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