Mostly gone are the days of your CFO who breaks balls like she breaks glass ceilings coming up to you while you’re helping one of the engineers out with an important problem saying, “Excuse me but I emailed you for help unjamming the printer closest to me, five feet to the left of another working one, and it’s been fourteen minutes without any response! I’m just as much a CFO in this skirt as I’d be I pants so take me seriously.” “Due respect Ma’am but I didn’t get any email from you.” WinMo phone polls IMAP, notification suddenly goes off, text to speech announcement identifying the email as having come from Megabitch. “Well there it is but the delay means that the mainframe crashed, gotta run.”

Doesn’t happen because, like our computer, our email client isn’t polling every 15 minutes anymore. Rather it’s constantly connected to some server and getting “push” email through one protocol or another. And it would be very difficult, I’m speculating, for me to find a smartphone at any dealership that, when configuring it to use any email address, whether it’s a Blackberry connecting to your home Linux server, an iPhone connecting to your Gmail, a Windows Phone 7 connecting to your office Exchange server, doesn’t by default dig for and engage constantly-connected configuration. Then you have Android phones where you just pop in your Gmail account once and you have access to all of their services.

Given that text messaging tends to cost money, it has a 160 alphanumeric limit, it is vulnerable to delays on a congested network just as email would be, given the rise of instant messaging popularity with GTalk, BBM or Tango and Facetime), given the enormous popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for which there is ample support on these phones, given that it’s no more difficult, for me at least, to compose an email than it would be an SMS, the only thing I can think of that would be holding people back, if people in this group are in fact being held back, from weaning themselves away from SMS in favor of anything else is some dated belief that SMS is more reliable and faster than email, habit, and perhaps they like, as Twitter appeared to have figured out, being limited to such a short amount of space. Or maybe they don’t like the subject field. Look at how I write; I couldn’t survive in a world of 160, let alone 140, alphanumeric. Threaded SMS? You can have threaded email. As for MMS on smartphones otherwise capable of those other things, same question. If you’re truly paranoid about latency your answer, like doctors, is getting your circle to buy pagers.

Breaking balls again with Old Man jimski I was startled briefly, until I thought “Oh wait this is the guy with the AOL account,” that he believes the word texting explicitly covers SMS and that email is being phased out except in business use. Took me by surprise so I found me some comScore stats. Turns out that people ages 12 through 54 (the younger the greater in proportion to older) are spending less time computer for web-based email, though 55 through death 15-17% more. Parenthetically, in spite of this, Gmail on desktops saw a 10% increase year over year in the 12-17 crowd, the crowd most likely (negative forty five percent) to put down the computer and fire up their phone.

So there’s a desktop exodus, the tweens leading the way though they really love Gmail on their computers and/or their phones; overall a 6% drop from desktop web-based emailing. For phones, according to comScore again, the number of people using their phones for email rose 36%, with the age group 25 to 34 rising 60%. Even the old farts bumped up a solid 25%. Nielsen did a similar study last March and, pay attention because this is the most important figure connected to me and Jim, according to this respectable outfit’s surveillance, cell phone users spend significantly more time on email at 38.5% versus any other function of their phones. Second place at 10.5%, tweeting and other social networking, the activity. Text messaging? Not even on the top ten. If you want links, just ask me or Google.

Oh, too many random old men pictures? Sorry…

I’d say “So much for Jim not suffering from some sort of chronic societal disorientation and dissociation” but not so fast, let’s see how these stats I laid out for you jive with some stats of our own right here. If you’d indulge me, zip through some votes below my signature signature.

Doug Simmons

[poll id="72"]


  1. Not my words. Just the stuff I read. Of course it all came from a BING search.


    The biggest argument for ringing the email death knell is that the young people aren’t using it! Indeed, comScore’s latest stats on time spent using web-based mail show that 12-17-year-olds are using it 50% less. Stats also dropped for age ranges between 18 and 54. The only people using email more are those above the age of 55.


    Email has taken the back seat, with Twitter, Facebook and other real-time communication driving how people communicate online. Media sources question if this really is the case. We bring you perspectives from The Wall Street Journal, FORA TV,, The Sun Sentinel and CNBC.

    A Wall Street Journal reporter says email no longer rules.

    “Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over… The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.”

    A writer on BLORGE.COM says email is dying, as people want a 24-hour online experience.

    “In the days of dial-up, we’d all be online in fits and starts, logging on, checking for messages, and then logging off again. But now most of us are connected to the Web, and each other… And with new efforts such as Google Wave on their way to increase real-time interaction even more, it looks as though email truly is heading the way of the dinosaur.”

    Finally, a CNBC anchor says it’s all about context.

    “I think what’s happening here is that email is still our corporate lingua franca. You have to make sure your boss can send you an email, but then our personal life, we’re giving up email in favor of this other stuff.”

    Via and

    Have we reached the point where email’s influence over our electronic lives is waning? It is hard to imagine, especially for those of us who grew up in the minicomputer/PC era. For two generations, email was the killer application. It delivered information reliably and within a few minutes.
    But today the properties that made email so attractive for so long are now a liabiliity. “A few minutes” for a response is so last year, driven in no small part by texting and cell phone ubiquity. At the same time this was happening, wikis, blogs and social networks have begun to erode email’s document exchange role. The notion of sharing photos or a slide presentation using email attachments is becoming quaint.

    Now, the Internets have gotten faster, and seconds matter. Amazon offers same-day deliveries in a few cities. Motorola’s new Cliq Android phone aggregates all your messages together. And email just can’t keep up.


    The End Of Email – Celebrating The Imminent Death

    Email is dying, mark my words. It will soon go the way of Morse code, the ham radio, and hand-written letters.

    Whisper it to yourself: “No. More. Email.” It’s scary, but freeing at the same time. It sounds like heresy, doesn’t it?

    So how can email be dying? Emarketer reports that almost a quarter of Americans check their email upon waking in the morning and more than a third check email throughout the day. But there is evidence that email will soon be a thing of the past.

    Here are the reasons why you and your customers have numbered days with the ol’ email address.

    •They aren’t getting your email – Email recipients simply aren’t receiving your message. Jupiter Research (now with Forrester) reports that 17% of the U.S. population changes email addresses every six months. You cannot maintain or build a relationship that way. This churn is steadily (and increasingly) chipping away at your list.
    •They don’t care about your email – Email’s value is decreasing. Open rates have declined for the last three years and 60% of subscribers don’t interact with your email messages at all. (The joint M+R/NTEN study examined non-profits – I think it’s safe to say that the results for businesses would be even more dismal.)
    •They opt for Facebook over email – I have seen personally and professionally a move toward communication via social network rather than email address. By self-selecting a social group, the individual avoids spam. Quantcast reports a decline in Hotmail traffic corresponding to an increase in Facebook traffic (Yahoo and Google results inconclusive). (Seb Chan has some good ideas about why this is.)
    •They might like microblogging more than social networks – As astute marketer Rich Brooks says, “While there will always be the telephone and email for us ‘old folks,’ a lot of important conversations will be going on exclusively in the social media arena.” Even though email takes less than a minute, the ambient awareness offered by microblogging platforms like Twitter and Plurk allows for a lifestream rather than direct contact or lengthy carbon copy lists.
    •They switched from an address to a URL – You just aren’t a good marketer if you haven’t read Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. If you have, you know that one out of six of your customers is a “creator” – someone who regularly blogs, uploads video, or keeps a website (pg. 43 and 131). With their online home changing from inbox to blog/avatar/podcast, your customers are more find-able than ever before. The dominance of search accentuates the importance of a home base website.
    Your customers don’t get your email and, when they do, they likely don’t care enough to open it. They prefer their regular hangouts like Facebook and Twitter over a boring email address. And finally, who needs an email address when they have a Google-indexed, searchable contact page on their website?

    Do you notice how all of these are similar? What is shared by all the nails in email’s coffin?

  2. Damnit Jim now I have to do the quote bracketing to deal with this?

    The biggest argument for ringing the email death knell is that the young people aren’t using it! Indeed, comScore’s latest stats on time spent using web-based mail show that 12-17-year-olds are using it 50% less.

    Did I not say that? 45% down for the kids on desktop computers? I see it, I must have said it.

    I went on to cite comScore and Nielsen with figures like 36% more people are using MOBILE EMAIL versus a year before, zooming in on the 25 to 34 age group a 60% increase. There was an across the board dramatic increase. And texting, back to where this stemmed from, was not even on the top ten list of activities Nielsen recorded.

    Nielsen in last March showed 38.5% time spent on mobile email than on any other phone function across all ages, second to Tweeting at 10.5%.

    On top of that I have my eyes and intuition, not sure you have either, that affirms this, that email on phones is only growing more popular and it’s a bigger mobile activity for more people than anything else so, finally, laws that say don’t text and drive… good chance that “texting” does not just mean SMS.

    Jim, seriously, do you just find my writing tl;dr or do you chronically lose your train of thought for some other reason? If so I’ll either back off or tone it down.

    And thanks for all the links, that was really worth your time figuring out how to highlight, copy and then paste all that crap for me — at least some of which said exactly what I did along, probably, with the rest of them but I’m not sure because I read more than enough articles on more than enough number crunchers’ stats to publish that.

  3. What what the hell do you know anyway about email or technological trends with your AOL account and your ArticleSnatcher website?

    Lody doddy, See the simularities?! Nail in the coffin! Dump-dee-dump dee doo, bedtime.

  4. Oh and you know what else I did? Fired up a stupid poll to see if we can collect data to affirm, at all, any of these statistics, any of our respective contentions.

    Article snatcher, sounds like a news aggregation service. How does it stack up against Google News, or in this case regular Google as this data isn’t quite breaking news? Actually regular Google would have given you the best of both worlds, recent articles in a top News section when appropriate and non-news but pertinent articles a little bit further down. Just curious.

  5. .. BING search HAHAHA wait what’s going on?

    You know, if you want to use Bing either to stick it to me, the man, Google, or because you think Microsoft offers better such services, they also lifted Google News… Maybe use it, I could be right, otherwise you should invest in this articlesnatcher site because if it’s better than both bing and google, buyout time, cha-ching for you.

  6. Yeah Doug. Had to blow the dust off of my Windows manual to figure out that copy and paste thingy, dag nam it. I would have posted links, but only you are permitted to do that. BTW,the whole post above, with a link, is stuck in Admin hell, so you might want to delete it, although it is another post.

    And I am sure the laws are being written to include all forms of typing/tapping on your phone. I never suggested any different. The reference was to the way Android phones are screwed up in that way that “text messaging”, or if you are in Europe “SMS” works. So please try to stay on topic. I think the heading of this article is, “Can We Stick A Fork In SMS (or Text Messaging if you are talking to a US audience)”. My points were raised to show that with the current trends, despite your Neilsen stats, the answer is “no”.

    As a case in point, my 22 year old nephew does not use email, and actually never has. He has had email addresses but has never used them. Not surprising to find 800 unread messages in his inbox that has not been checked in 12 months. BTW, I bought him his first PC when he was 11, so he is rather computer literate. Needless to say, none of his dozens and dozens of friends use email either. He also does not use voice mail. If you call and he does not answer, send him a text. 1500 texts per month is not uncommon. Of course they all have and use their iPhones to their fullest. I would call him a typical American 22 year old. Yes, when he joins the business world, he will probably have to use email, but his preferred method of social interaction will not change. So as “you” and I grow older, and the demographics change, fewer and fewer will use email as a way to communicate socially.

    But, I will never win this one, so I am going to stop trying. You were obviously President of your Debate Club and earned that trophy. Actually, I think you missed your calling as a used car salesman. You could have done great. I am going to get back to trying to help out users with their phone problems and sharing the feeble knowledge I have accrued. Tired of helping out with your post count. Have a nice day.

  7. I am sure the laws are being written to include all forms of typing/tapping on your phone. I never suggested any different.

    What are we up to, the fifth time I’ve had to explain this further? I said texting due to the way people work and common sense does and always has referred, and I suspect legally with no need to amend or make sure the wording in these laws gets any more specific than texting, yet I bet it’s being enforced that way anyway and will continue to because why make the distinction in that context. Too long didn’t read? Forget it, it was a tangent anyway. Nevermind, who cares. Yes, thank you, stay on topic.

    You know what I call your 22 year old nephew in terms of this exchange we’re having? A big fat ANECDOTE. They ought to come up with a new word for people who pass that off as evidence of some sort of trend — an anecdolt. Compelling evidence Jim, not so much. Especially if you’re saying that his behavior is an early instance of what will be a complete reversal of trends which is absurd and even you’d have to admit that, I’d hope, if you gave it a little more thought. A curious thing that you’d go into his email, but that’s your business.

    Never a member of any debate club, perhaps a calling I missed, but before you go do whatever it is you do please, as a favor, explain this used car salesman remark. Haven’t heard that insult before, want to know what precipitated your saying it. If you think I’m in this for post counts I’ll even come up with a way to either clock all of our post counts and our article post counts or subtract one or fifty from my stack, whatever you want, just give me an answer. Also I’m awfully curious what you’re helping users out with.

    Don’t give me that have a nice day shit at 9pm.

    If you’d just like to drop this completely, let’s put money on it: In X years from now, these trends will have reversed. For fifty bucks, you set X wherever the hell you want so long as it’s five years prior to the expectancy of your natural death, obviously we know which side we’re on. Any interest? If not, maybe your son would like this action?

  8. Those of us who have e-mail disabled on our phones, and who use SMS often, should choose which option in the poll? The sixth choice seems to be the only one from which I couldn’t positively exclude myself. =)

    I do, in fact, have my e-mail accounts set up on my phone, for when I need emergency access; but that’s only–at most–once a month. I much prefer to use my laptop to access my e-mail.

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