There was an interesting article published last week by an Associated Press writer that discussed some results from a study
by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Basically, the article said that e-mail is losing ground to instant messaging and text messaging for both personal and workplace
communication, particularly among younger people. The article cited the growing problem with spam as one of the factors that
is driving people away from e-mail, although the article made it clear that e-mail is definitely here to stay.
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I found the article interesting for a couple of reasons. First, our own research shows that workplace use of e-mail is growing
at a rapid pace. A large survey that we conducted in January shows that users are sending 17% more e-mail and receiving 20%
more e-mail this year compared to last year, implying that e-mail use is continuing and growing at a quite healthy pace.
Further, there is a belief that IM and text messaging are replacements for e-mail. I believe that these technologies are actually
complementary, not replacements for each other. This is based on the fact that when people use IM or text messaging, what
they're really using is presence information about their contact and sending them the equivalent of an e-mail via a communications
channel that is linked with that presence information. Because desktop and mobile e-mail systems are increasingly coupled
with presence information, I believe that the distinction between e-mail and IM will become less pronounced in the future,
and that communications will be driven more by the need for presence information than by a need to communicate using a particular