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Is email really going away?

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Email is going the way of the dodo, according to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Only 11% of teens use email daily, preferring instead to use SMS messaging and social networking, Sandberg proclaimed at the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference in Las Vegas.

“E-mail – I can’t imagine life without it – is probably going away,” Sandberg said.

Of course her claim prefaced a talk about the wonders of Facebook, but it is an interesting topic to consider – especially if you’re building a social-based business.

Mobile text messaging has become the preferred method for teens to communicate socially, according to a Pew Internet study. The use of social networking services such as Facebook is up there as well, but it trails good old fashioned phone calls in popularity.

Sandberg is not the first to see an end to email as we know it. Last month Google opened its Google Wave service to the public. Wave was conceived as a reinvention of email, and incorporates many chat and social elements.

However alternatives such as Wave or Facebook have failed to catch on in email’s most important arena: business. And while email may have begun more than 40 years ago and evolved into the spam-filled in-boxes we know and love today, employers don’t usually hook up their new employees with their own Facebook or Wave accounts.

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