ComScore has revealed what some of us suspected and what Mark Zuckerberg had claimed upon the launch of Facebook Messages last November: Teens are simply just not into email anymore.
A comScore report looking at digital trends -published last week- explains that total email usage declined by 8% in 2010, while usage among 12 to 17 year olds went down an alarming 59%. That’s more than all other age groups’ drops combined. Young adults between the ages of 25 and 25 came in second (they used email 18% less last year).
In the age of SMS, Twitter, and short Facebook comments or private messages, it seems emails are too long and/or formal to be used in daily, non-professional communication.
Not surprisingly, older people – who might still be getting used to using the Internet as their main source of communication – are the only ones who used email quite a bit more than in 2009.
So what could this mean for Faceboook Messages? Can people potentially become so accustomed to a totally informal messaging system that seamlessly blends IM and SMS to the point of canceling their Gmail or Yahoo accounts?
TechCrunch‘s Alexia Tsotsis seems to believe as much: “Yahoos and Aols of the world, you might have a problem if people in their mid-twenties aren’t using your product, especially if Zuck is going after them young.”
But that’s precisely the issue, at least for the time being. Younger people might not be using email because they haven’t entered college yet, much less a professional environment. Granted, perhaps in ten years Facebook will have launched its own LinkedIn-style spin-off with full email-like capabilities, or perhaps they will have figured out how to integrate the full spectre of email into the Facebook experience, but until then it seems difficult to imagine a world without a place for just email.
And yet, there’s a big chance that, if youngsters everywhere aren’t using email that much now, they will figure out a way to replace email once they become the decision makers of the world.
To everyone reading this, we’d love to hear what you have to say. What changes, if any, have you been observing in your own Facebook and email use, as well as among your family, classmates, or co-workers? Are you using Facebook Messages for school or work, and if so, how?