If trends mean anything, the analysis by the pollsters at Pew miss the point of their own data. Whilst the title for the report is “Search and email still top the list of most popular online activities”, the use of email has remained flat — dropping 1% really, but statistically insignificant — since 2002. Searching rose from 85% to join email at 92% (since 2002). But social network use, which was not even measured until 2005, begins at 11% and is up to 65% by 2011’s survey.
Email fans shouldn’t get all that excited by the report as the data underlying the report show communications trends that will move us all from email even in the immediate term. Note also that email alternatives were not measured giving some confusion to the frequencies of communications.
One critique of #noemail is that any messaging system is really email. Of course, I don’t buy that. But that does show that messaging of all kinds is conflated with email and could be here as the alternatives are offered. This becomes clearer when we look at the racial differences in email use by adults. “White online adults are significantly more likely than both African-American and Hispanic online adults to be email users on a typical day (63% v. 48% v. 53%, respectively). “ Another Pew study released in June showed that Twitter use by Whites, African Americans and Hispanic adults is the reverse of the email patern (9% v. 25% v. 19% respectively).