October 10, 2012
As Facebook surpasses 1 billion active users and Twitter dominates coverage of live events, younger people are sharing news over social networks instead of through email, Poynter reports. Over the last six months e-mail drove about five percent less traffic to websites than in the past, according to AddThis, a company that provides sharing buttons and analytics for 14 million sites. But email is still holding its own among many adult users.
Sites like BuzzFeed consciously try to create viral hits that readers will want to share with broad groups of friends over social media, as opposed to through email. “Sites that publish topical news, such as entertainment news or tech news, have probably seen a sharper decline in e-mail sharing,” said Greg Cypes, product director for AddThis. But email is still the preferred method for sharing news about more personal topics and for private, direct exchanges between small groups of adults.
Even as people transition to using smartphones and tablets for much of their communication, email remains their No. 1 activity on those devices, Poynter reports. But the Pew Research Center found that only 6 percent of American teens exchange email daily, compared to 22 percent who use instant messaging, 29 percent who exchange messages over social media, and 63 percent who send text messages. — Greg Beaubien