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The Death of Email

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, February 8 2011

Maybe. This post from TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotis is getting a lot of attention for what it highlights in comScore's "The 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review" report: while we've all been busy obsessing over the rise of Twitter and Facebook and mobile and what have you, web-based email use has plummeted amongst at least some segments of the American population. For Americans between the ages of 12 to 17, time spent on web-based email use has dropped a whopping 59% last year, and for folks 25 to 34, the drop was 18%.

(Web-based email use actually went up a fair amount amongst Americans 55 and older; comScore explains the bump as being "most likely because of continued Internet adoption by these age segments.")

From a political perspective, a shift in who's using what to communicate how has, of course, implications for everything from campaigns to governing to advocacy work to the occasional revolution, but we're still dealing with data here, not a particularly clear picture. One smart online organizer in an email list group, for example, suggests that some segment of that younger slice of Americans might age into desk jobs were email is still a core mode of communications. If you're interested in the topic, you'll probably want to go download and read the comScore report itself.

One bit of irony: if you attempt to download a copy of the report from comScore using, say, a Gmail account, up pops an error message ordering you to input a "valid corporate email address." In the future, it might be that, for younger Americans, there's no part of that instruction that makes any sense.