People still use broadcast television and type on typewriters. Just because something is old and has been superseded doesn't mean that it has gone away. Indeed, the strength of the old and familiar often is surprisingly strong.
Email is in this category. Research firm Ipsos found that far more people use the Internet for email than for social networking. The firm polled 19,216 people in 24 countries. Eighty-five percent used the Internet for email and 62 percent for social networking. The breakdown by nation, according to a report in Mashable:
How people use the Internet varies from country to country. In Hungary, 94% go online to use email while only 46% do so in Saudi Arabia. In Indonesia, 83% of people use the Internet for social networking (defined in the study as visiting social networking sites, forums or blogs.) Social media use is also high in Argentina (76%), Russia (75%) and South Africa (73%). It's low in Japan (35%) and Saudi Arabia (42%). The U.S. figure for social media use was right around the average: 61%.
Two other interesting notes from the survey and commentary: Ipsos research manager Keren Gottfried put the comparative findings for social networking and email in perspective. She said that email replaces something - physically writing a letter - while social networking is new. She calls the fact that more than half of people queried use social networks a "paradigm shift."
Just because email has been around forever (at least in cyber terms) doesn't mean that it doesn't change with the times. An example can be seen in this news from Mr. Mail, a UK-based company. Mr. Mail said last week that it now is offering free Zimbra mailboxes to anyone in the world. Zimbra is owned by virtualization firm VMware. The press release has an extra benefit: It offers a nice thumbnail history of email.
For example, my most recent Account Activity report told me that I sent 5 percent more email than the previous month and received 3 percent more. An Italian hotel was my top Gmail contact for the month. I conducted 12 percent more Google searches than in the previous month, and my top queries reflected the vacation I was planning: [rome] and [hotel].
There are many free email and webmail programs. Technabob offers insight into improvements he says have been made to Microsoft's Hotmail. It is useful, he writes, in whittling down the amount of graymail with which folks must deal. He maintains that graymail - messages that have been requested, such as daily newsletters and notices of bargains - has replaced spam as the biggest challenge to email/webmail.