email vs social mediaFast quick messages like tweets, posts and status updates seem to be all the rage.  Some people describe social media as an “email killer.” But who is really winning the “email vs social media” battle?

Email Is Old But Entrenched

The first email was sent in 1971. While the technology seems old, it is firmly entrenched and is used in almost all professional environments.

One of the first things a company will do when you are hired is issue you an email address at their company. Even when you access social media, you require an email address to create an account or change your password.

Email is everywhere and doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon.

Email Has A Unified Interface

Even if you have 3-4 different email accounts, you can access all your email accounts through a single program. So you really only need to open one program to read and send your emails. And your email can be read by any recipient no matter what email program they are using.

You need to have an account on each social media to send or read on that social media. You can join thousands of different social medias. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, Flickr, Vine, Meetup, Xing, and many others. There is no single program you can use to see all your messages from ALL these different social media sites. So you have to know which social media your recipient is on and send there.

You can send and read emails more simply than you can work with multiple social media sites.

Emails Get Read

You usually open your email inbox every day for work. You see all your emails as each email is being sent to your particular email.

Social media is more like a feed – with more posts from all the people you follow being added every few seconds. Other than direct messages, most of these messages are sent out to their whole network and not just you. So people don’t bother to read everything in their feed. They just see the latest posts when they check their social media account. Most social media messages aren’t read at all.

Your email stays in their inbox until read and archived whereas social messages stream by quickly and are lost in the feed.

Social Media Messages Get Shared

Where social media excels is encouraging people to share messages on social media with simple sharing buttons. That is what social media was originally developed. So your social media messages have a greater chance of “going viral” than your email messages.

Social Media Gets Discovered

Because social media is more shared, it becomes discoverable as well. When you are searching through search engines for information on a topic, social media messages show up in addition to web site results. Your emails aren’t indexed by Google and other search engines. So social media wins in the discoverability department.

Email Shines for In-Depth Content

Most social media messages are limited in how long they can be, such as the 140 character limit for Twitter. With your email message, you aren’t restricted, so you can include longer letters, whole articles and deeper information. Both social media and email can link to web content so this is a possible work-around for social media if the content is public,

Email Is Best For Private Conversations

Your email generally goes to a single email address direct to your recipient. Most social messages are posted on your timeline for all to see. You can do direct messages to people on social media, but not everyone monitors these the same way that they monitor their email inbox.

Email Is More Professional

Email is seen as more professional and business oriented than social media. So email is best for job applications, sales proposals, marketing letters and other communications of a business nature. Social media is often more casual and great for letting your network know about your trip or cool things you have come across.

Email Is Safe For Work

People can open email at work, knowing their supervisors will see this as “work.” But if you are opening and replying to social media messages on Facebook or Twitter, it is often see as wasting time and can give the impression you aren’t really working.

Email vs Social Media Conclusion

So in the Email vs Social Media battle, email wins as the more professional method of connecting with your clients and prospects while social media leads in sharing and discovery. But I don’t see email and social media as adversaries. I see email and social media as complementary tools. I use social media to drive traffic to my signup pages for things like my free online time management courses to increase my email signups.

Social media is often how I am introduced to people and email is how we continue to carry on our conversations. Both play a key role in my success. So my email vs social media battle is over and both work peacefully together to improve my connection and relationships with people around the world.