Young ditch e-mail for social networking sites

Like cassettes, videos and faxes, e-mail appears to be in an irreversible decline, at least in Britain.

According to statistics from market researchers comScore, millions of Britons led by the under-25s are abandoning the cumbersome tool for social networking sites, reports Daily Mail.

The three most popular services in Britain - Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Hotmail, have all seen a consistent fall in the number of people visiting their sites.

E-mail providers have lost around 1.2 million users since numbers peaked in October 2009, although this only covers personal accounts, according to the figures obtained by The Times,  the report says.

Younger consumers prefer the faster pace of instant messaging, which is a far more flexible way of conversing online. Pictures are easy to share through integrated galleries.

Websites such as Facebook also let users know if their friends are online and so will know if their missive has been received.

This helps explain why Facebook has attracted 1.3 million more members since January while there are 320,000 more people on Twitter.

Writing for PC Magazine, columnist John Dvorak said e-mail has become useless to many.

"There is no real way of confirming receipt of an e-mail other than the annoying receipt request," he said.

"People also change their e-mail addresses far too often and few have a permanent e-mail address where people can always contact them," he said.

"Plus a lot of people end up with poorly administered e-mail systems that results in boxes filled with so much spam the user abandons the entire address."

E-mail has been downgraded by many to humdrum activities such as paying bills or receiving newsletters.

The 26-year-old Zuckerberg said e-mails would go the way of the letter because it was too slow and too formal.

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