Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan got together via email in the 1998 film ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ Now they would likely use Twitter.
Many scoffed when Mark Zuckerberg declared the death of email last month. Now new figures reveal that the Facebook founder may be right. Just like cassettes, videos and faxes, the use of email appears to be in an irreversible decline.
According to statistics from market researchers comScore, millions of Britons led by the under-25s are abandoning the cumbersome tool for social networking sites.
The three most popular services in the UK – Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Hotmail, have all seen a consistent fall in the number of people visiting their sites.
Email providers have lost around 1.2million users since numbers peaked in October 2009, although this only covers personal accounts, according to the figures obtained by The Times.
Younger consumers prefer the faster pace of instant messaging, which is a far more flexible way of conversing online. Pictures are easy to share through integrated galleries.
Websites such as Facebook also let users know if their friends are also online and so will know if their missive has been received.
This helps explain why Facebook has attracted 1.3million more members since January while there are 320,000 more people on Twitter.
Writing for PC Magazine, columnist John Dvorak said email has become useless to many.
‘There is no real way of confirming receipt of an email other than the annoying receipt request,’ he said.
‘People also change their email addresses far too often and few have a permanent email address where people can always contact them,’ he said.
‘Plus a lot of people end up with poorly administered email systems that results in boxes filled with so much spam the user abandons the entire address.’
Email has been downgraded by many to humdrum activities such as for paying bills or receiving newsletters.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg highlighted this electronic revolution in November when he hailed the death of email as we know it.
The 26-year-old said emails would go the way of the letter because it was too slow and too formal.