Social Network v. Webmail – People getting tired of e-mail deluge?

For some time now people have asked if people will get overwealmed by their e-mail. Personal messages, work documents, shopping confirmation, newsletters, promotions — they all are coming to a single mailbox and leaving us all glued to our inboxes trying desperately to manage the deluge of information like computer scientists or Dewey Decimal librarians with folders, tags, labels and the like.

An alternative is to imagine a segmentation of e-mail into different applications — Facebook for personal, work on the company system (most likely an installed e-mail client), purchases to a banking tool, news to RSS readers. They can all send notifications to a primary e-mail address, but by being specialised they offer more functionality to keep us all sane.

Hitwise Social Networks v Webmail - Jan 08

Consider the report just published by Hitwise about traffic figures from last year in the UK. Basically it calls out that social networks are getting more traffic in terms of % of total visits then webmail sites.

Of course there is more to do on Facebook then hotmail, but if hotmail is primarily used for talking to friends, it isn’t hard to envision it becoming the primary e-mail address and hotmail dropping off even more.

As people take to communicating more, it gets to be too much for an e-mail client — rapid fire chats are better managed in IM, general comments to the world in wall posts, group party invites through e-vites.

Computers are here to make our lives easier — specialisation of communication tools will be a great first step.

Some other great social networking stats from an FT article, Business Woo Social Network Figures, 15 Jan 2008:

  • 14,000 people signed a Facebook petition to bring back the Wispa bar for Cadbury’s
  • The Primark Appreciation Society has 100,000 members and receives gentle guidance from the retailer’s marketing team.
  • Screwfix.com, a retailers site, has an electricians forum with over 300,000 messages on it.

And of course last years favourite also from Hitwise siting that Topshop and ASOS receive more referrals from MySpace then MSN Search and Yahoo Search combined.  The figure was 5% of their traffic at the time in March 2007.

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