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.

Measurable Digital Outdoor

Richard Wheaton from Neo@Ogilvy here in London talks about heading to a world where “all media is served.” It is a great idea and really highlights why we all must get our technical skills up to take advantage of it. My analogy is thinking of managing marketing like a search campaign instead of a classic TV plan.

Digital Outdoor is the first of the big traditional formats to change. Currently it is mostly video, but the signs aren’t dumb players and the scope for technical creativity is great. Here in London, Viacom’s plan is to put 2,000 digital sites as part of “a single digital advertising network.”

Add what has just been reported in Newsweek about using eye tracking technology for outdoor measurement.  My comment was referencing outdoor ads that can be served by daypart or react to current sports events.   Where Jenna Crombie took it is even better and really Minority Report — outdoor poster sites that measure if you look at them.

Aside from making Outdoor a more measurable medium, it also immediately opens up the possibility of billboards — or really some form of digital 4 sheets to use the jargon — reacting to when someone stops in a ticketing hall and decides to pay attention.

How much fun would that be?  That would be amazing.

Anglo-centric Blog List

Sorry for the delay in following up the post — been on holiday chasing big waves off Vlieland and Terscheling.

George calls out that the majority of the Japanese sites are actually over ranked because of spam links. Be interesting to investigate.

But even with more people speaking English in India then in the United States, this list from Technorati still looks suspect:
1. Engadget
2. Boing Boing
3. Gizmodo
4. Techcrunch
5. Huffington Post
6. Lifehacker
7. Ars Technica
8. Daily Kos
9. PostSecret
10. Mashable

This list reminds me of the phsycographic profiles we did of the “average internet user” back in 1997 – techy, skewing male, gadget-centric and, of course, English-only.

Technorati and BlogPulse shouldn’t be so far apart and I’m sure there has been an analysis of their research methodologies. Peseus WebSurveyor has a posting that is quite a bit dated but does show that if we want to measure “conversations” alongside “brand tracking” and “hard metrics” we have some work to do.