Facebook, Twitter and other social media are more used than e-mail, surveys suggest

Mar 16, 2009 By Scott Kleinberg

Here's today's big news in fewer than 140 characters: Social networking is now more popular than e-mail.

That's the official word from a new round of Nielsen research, which shows "" such as and have overtaken personal e-mail to become the fourth-most-popular way people spend time online (after search, portals and software applications).

While there are plenty of facts and figures to back up the claim, it seems a little like old news. As fast as e-mail is, it's just not immediate enough. Seeing a message pop into an inbox just doesn't compare to receiving a tweet on Twitter or even a comment on Facebook.

And is good for you. It forces you to get to the point. We don't read e-mail, we scan it. Why unleash a 1,000-word diatribe when you can sum it up in 140 characters?

And what would a Nigerian scam be without e-mail? "My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast before he was poisoned to death ..." just wouldn't have the same impact posted on a Facebook wall.

E-mail is still king at the office, but we're all embracing social media and other forms of communication. Sometimes, we still actually talk to each other!

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(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.
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Explore further: EU case against Google shows need for new publishing models in the information age

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