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Unified Communications Featured Article

March 02, 2010

Social Media Use Does Not Depress Use of E-mail, Study Finds

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Despite the growth of social networking, adult users have not reduced their use of e-mail, said research firm Merkle, which conducted a survey of 3,281 U.S. adults age 18 or older in the fall of 2009.
Time spent with personal, or social, e-mail to friends and family is unchanged from last year, with 71 percent of respondents spending 20 minutes or more weekly. These numbers contradict early speculation that social networking would quickly replace traditional e-mail use.

In fact, it appears that active social networkers are more likely to be avid e-mail users as well, as measured by time spent with social e-mail as well as number of times checked daily. Forty-two percent of social networkers check their e-mail account four or more times a day, compared to just 27 percent of their non-networked counterparts.
About 20 percent of Facebook, MySpace (News - Alert) and Twitter users have posted or shared something from permission e-mail to their social accounts using a “share” option, indicating the importance of an integrated e-mail marketing strategy, Merkle officials said.
“We are seeing consistent social use of the e-mail channel, as well as evidence to support the idea that social networking and e-mail use are actually more related than previously thought," says Lori Connolly, Merkle director.
Time spent on social e-mail represents 41 percent of total e-mail time, while 26 percent of time is spent with "permission" or opt-in commercial e-mail, Merkle officials said Still, that represents about a 10-percent drop over the last two years, but seems to have stabilized.
The constant number of daily e-mails received from friends and family currently stands at 8.6, compared with 8.4 last year. And when respondents gauge the time spent with this category, 35 percent think they spend more time communicating with friends and family compared to a year ago.. About 10 percent say they are spending less time with this category compared to a year ago.
The study suggests users most active at the top social networking increased the amount of time spent with social e-mail, spending 45 minutes weekly with social e-mail. Socially networked users also check their e-mail much more frequently on a daily basis compared to those who are not social online.
About 42 percent of social networkers check their e-mail account four or more times a day, compared to just 27 percent of those who do not use the current top social networking sites.
Smartphone penetration also contributes to this behavior; social networkers are twice as likely to use mobile e-mail compared to their non-networked online counterparts. About 28 percent of smartphone users check their e-mail on their mobiles, compared to 14 percent of smartphone users who do not use social networks.
Mobile e-mail users also are “hyper e-mail checkers, ” checking their personal e-mail account four or more times daily. About 50 percent of mobile e-mail users are hyper e-mail checkers, compared to 32 percent of non-mobile e-mail users.

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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