By M. Christian
YNOT - Even as modern companies invest larger and larger shares of their marketing budgets into social media campaigns, a new study shows that good old-fashioned email is still the activity of choice for many internet users.
"Private research firm Ipsos polled 19,216 adults in 24 countries last month and found 85% of them used the internet for email, while 62% used it for social networking," writes Todd Wasserman of Mashable Social Media.
According to the report, there is great variance in how different groups of people use the internet ? especially when looking at habits in different countries. For example, 94% of Hungarians go online for email, compared with just 46% in Saudi Arabia.
Indonesia, meanwhile, leads the social media charge. 84% of Indonesians visit social networking websites. Argentina follows behind at 76%, Russia at 75%, and South Africa at 73%. Japan, one of the more technologically savvy countries, has a low of just 35% social networking site use. The US, in the meantime, remains at a remarkably average 61%.
Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos, said that she expected email to thump social media.
?If you think about it, the internet was first used for sending letters online," says Gottfried. "It shouldn?t be surprising that we?re using a digital version of sending a letter. But the fact that a majority of people are using [the internet] for social networking is a paradigm shift; there?s no equivalent in the offline world.?
Research shows there are signs that people around the world are using the internet in all new ways. VOIP might have low usage at present, but the technology promises to be bigger in the future. Presently 14% of all internet users use VOIP services, led by Russia (35%), Turkey (32%) and India (25%). Usage elsewhere it is much lower, with Brazil, France and the United States coming in the 4-6% range.
Gottfried sums up what many have observed about email in the age of social networking: for straight-up communication, nothing tops just sending a message.
"The primacy of email over social networking comes as Facebook and Google have both attempted to remake email for a new generation," said Gottfried. "Google?s bid was Google Wave, which the company billed as the next evolution of email in 2009. By August 2011, Google had announced it was pulling the plug on the project after adoption didn?t materialize."
Facebook has even tried it's own ?modern messaging system? in 2010, an attempt to tantalize the younger set. So far, however, the efforts of the internet's tech giants have yet to dent the international popularity of plain old email.