According to the Nielsen Institute, in August, there are 276.9 million users of e-mails in the United States, in most European countries and Australia and the Brazil, against 301 million for social networks. Is this the beginning of the decline of electronic mail, for the benefit of the sites of socialization?
Dominique Cardon: It is certain that there is a very strong growth of social networks, from the email. But you have to be very attentive to the numbers: the number of enrolled in social networks is any number of real users of platforms.
However, the owners of e-mail boxes are generally regular users. I do not really think competition between the two tools. They correspond to two different communication systems. One, the e-mail is traditional, the interpersonal communication private, whose growth continues. The other, the communication through social networks, is new, and knows, for certain audiences, and in some contexts, a very strong growth.
What are the differences between these two forms of communication?
Novelty that introduced the dynamics of social networks, it is the appearance of a private in public, a kind of talk to the yobidashi communication. Users send messages that are sometimes explicitly for any particular person, but instead of sending them an email, they make public a custom Exchange. It is a particular way to socialize the personal communication by showing it to the network of contacts. It has thus returned to group communication functions that could be known with the discussion list or the mail addressed to several persons.
Social networks add so something new, but which overrides not electronic mail. In the use of communication tools, the general rule is that the tools complement each other, but they are rarely disappear precedents. There is no reason to believe that a form of private, personal communication, disappear from the world of e-mail. However, there are a whole series of new communication functions that pass through social networks MyLife.com. This way to publish his identity by making public its activities, interests, his reading open informational space which combines personal information and public information in an original way.
What is the engine of the rise of social networks such as Facebook, Friendfeed or Twitter?
From the point of view of usage, social networks are worn by young people, graduates, with a rather active social life. A generation ago very user, and others which are less. But we've all been familiar social networks by a series of tools: Instant Messaging, but also emails with copies, where one learns that an e-mail sent to a person can be read by many others. The watertight doors of personal communication has opened to a wider audience.
What characterizes the use of social networks is also that we spend time, not because it remained very long in a single period, but because it is very frequently. There is the idea that this thread of continuous information gives an awareness of the environment, "ambient awareness", which creates a continuous attention. The mobile phone, which allows to bring with itself the network information, slides perfectly in this perspective.
The evolution towards a logic of communication flow Internet users does not risk?
In social networks, people have more control that is often said: temper, they calculate, they anticipate. There are very different strategies in practice. Strategies for closing around a world known and controlled, with small networks, also present contacts on their Instant Messaging, and in which one can give a little personal information. There are also strategies a bit more open, but with a desire to control always. Twitter, for example, can serve as a tool for the small conversation. But as soon as the number of "followers" (followers) increases, there is a hard statement and under control and production of very general interest information.
How evolve modes of communication?
For the moment, were always separated the private channel and the public channel. It is now inventing an intermediate zone, a chiaroscuro. This means a learning phase. Initially, the user updates everyone in its network, and then it will begin to understand the impact of its interventions. There will often be a reconstruction of the network, rather oriented towards the family, or colleagues, and the messages will adapt to the public.
In this regard, the management of status on Facebook is significant. Send an e-mail to a stranger is quite engaging activity. However, comment on the status of a stranger is much less. It is typical of Facebook to create weak links between people, to maintain a relationship dotted form. This d