Social media more popular than email

Two-thirds of us now subscribe to social media sites (Facebook, Twitter etc). In the UK, 47 per cent of people going online use Facebook; in Brazil, the most popular social media site (Orkut) is visited by a staggering 70 per cent of online users.

And, most staggering of all, "member communities" are now reckoned to be a more popular communication than personal email.

These are the headline findings in a really interesting analysis in today’s Guardian by the uber-commentator Jack Schofield, who also points to the popularity of the mobile to access social media sites.

The implications for businesses are huge: customers are increasingly shifting to private communities – and away from their fixed-computer email – in order to avoid spam and mass marketing. Instead they’re sheltering in communities of trust and common-interest.

How in the future will businesses reach their customers? Already many consumers can opt out of TV and online advertising. (Into the void has stepped product placement.) Now the email marketing route is under threat. No wonder WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell has hinted at a surprising return in popularity for traditional print advertising.

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