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    Posted February 17, 2014 by
    Crossville, Tennessee
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Tech talk

    Is Email Becoming Extinct?

    With the rising popularity of text messaging and social networking, the question becomes whether email continues to be a viable means of communication.

    The truth is, less and less email is getting read these days. To understand why your email isn't being opened, we have to take a closer look at the mechanics of receiving email:

    Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have spam filters in place that automatically place email messages into the recipient's spam folder if the message matches a predetermined setting. (For example, if an ISP filter determines that messages containing the word "guaranteed" are spam, then any message containing that word will automatically be sent to the recipient's spam folder.) And, if a message contains too many words or symbols that are indicative of spam, the ISP will refuse the message altogether and bounce it into cyberspace.

    In addition to the spam folder, some ISPs - such as gmail - automatically set up several additional folders in the user's account. Based on the filters preset at the ISP level, all email received is placed in one of these folders. So, unless the recipient opens the specific folder where the ISP delivers your message, they will never see it.

    Add to that the large number of emails the average person receives every day, and it's very easy to understand why your email may be getting lost in their inboxes.

    And let's not forget that, in addition to email, there are several alternative means of digital communication with which people are bombarded every day. Some of the more popular are: text messaging, push messaging, and instant messaging, as well as a wide variety of social networking sites that provide users with methods for communicating with one another.

    As you can see, your email messages are fighting for attention with a literal army of other messages coming from all channels of communication. It's no wonder so many emails ends up in the trash bin without ever having been opened.

    So what's the solution? Should we stop sending email?

    No. In spite of the low open rate, email is still a simple and affordable means of keeping in contact with people. And, enough people are still reading your messages to make it worthwhile.

    However, it may be time to mix things up a bit, and start using more than just email to keep in touch with people.

    We already see this trend occurring in the corporate world. In addition to sending email to their customers, large companies also keep in touch via Facebook, and sometimes Twitter. The same large companies often send text or push message updates to their customers, as well as a direct mail piece every now and then.

    This "multi-modality" approach seems to be the wave of the future. Not every person will read every message you send. However, by using a wider variety of methods, you will reach a much larger number of people.
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