A research group at Ipsos polled web users internationally, and found that most people are still communicating online via email.
That's right - email.
Social media is catching up, but the majority still find the simplicity of direct communication works best for many situations. The study's press release does not explain "why" e-mail is so popular internationally. Possible factors include that in English-speaking countries (remember, most social media sites are based in the United States) and others, so it is possible that the need for some international users to use translation sites may be affecting their choice of communication technology. Some social media sites also use more bandwidth, so there may be regional preferences based on accessibility to high-speed internet and mobile connections. So, it is possible that internet users in western countries where high-speed internet and access to the web in one's native language (or fluently-spoken second language) might take more advantage of social media than others.
However, the fact remains that email has not yet gone away, and it probably will not. Service providers will come and go, and the line between instant-messaging through a social media site and emailing directly will continue to become more and more blurry, but simple, direct, one-on-one written communication skills are still paramount to effectively communicating with much of the world.
If you were hoping you would soon be able to get by with 140-character updates (the virtual equivalent of grunting and pointing), that's not likely to happen in the near future. If you are someone like me, however, who actually LIKES to communicate in writing, this is good news. You are still likely to find that many of your customers may appreciate this mode of communication.
MailChimp has a great piece on writing an effective subject lines for emails, and Dennis Jerz, of Seton Hill University has ten very good tips for writing effective email.
As we noted earlier this week, WevRevelation is prepared to help you with your Customer Relation Managment (CRM). Also, be sure to check out Streamlining your eMail here at WebRev, as well as Tim's explanation of IMAP vs. POP.
Mashable has commentary and additional information about the study.