Email’s not going anywhere, according to new data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.
Of the 1,066 adult Internet users surveyed by Pew in September 2014, some 61 percent reported email a “very important” tool for doing their job, ahead of even the Internet (54 percent), a landline phone (35 percent), a cell or smartphone (24 percent), and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook (4 percent).
“The high value of email comes despite the challenges of the past generation, including threats like spam and phishing and competitors like social media and texting,” explained Pew’s report that accompanied the data. “Surprisingly, landline phones outrank cell phones for these internet-using workers.” While many workers evidently don’t regard social networks as a vital tool, email—for all its issues—allows professionals more flexibility with regard to how and where they work.
Pew found that only 7 percent of working online adults felt that the Internet, email and cell phones have killed their productivity, versus the 46 percent who felt more productive as a result of those platforms. Roughly 35 percent also said that email, the Internet, and cell phones had increased the amount of time they spend working.
What does Pew’s data mean for you? Despite the attempts of many a startup to “kill” email in favor of something more streamlined and effective, it seems like the medium is pretty well entrenched. Your office might embrace Slack or Yammer, but email is here to stay for the foreseeable future.