Friday, July 15, 2011

Don’t dump your email account for Facebook -- yet

Versión en español aquí.

I was suprised and delighted to read today that the New York Times studied its readers’ habits for sharing articles and found that they prefer email over social networks.

The implication for web designers is that they should make email sharing a prominent tool on their websites or they might miss a big potential source of traffic.

For some reason, I still like managing my online life through email. Daily calendar alerts remind me of appointments. I subscribe to maybe two dozen newsletters so I don’t forget to follow developments in digital journalism or the business of media.

And sometimes I want to share a newspaper article with just certain friends and tailor the message to them.  

The email detractors

Lately I seem to see more things written about the death of email and how it will be replaced by communication through social networks.

Before that a wave of blog posts talked about the imminent death of blogs. But they have said the same thing about radio, television and now newspapers.

Paid Content’s article about the Times study reinforced some of my own views on the subject:
While people who are younger and view themselves as more tech-savvy have begun to eschew e-mail as a communications tool, for the most part, e-mail remains the most popular way users choose to share news. 
As the study reminds the technological elite, despite appearances, not “everyone” is on Facebook, and Twitter is still mostly the province of media and tech people. Secondly, e-mail is viewed as more secure and private and therefore more “personal.” As such, people tend to want to have a one-to-one conversation about news that moves them rather than a one-to-many. 
Make sure your content is easy to share by email. And don’t dump your personal email account, at least not yet.

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