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Facebook is changing the way we use email and is stopping us using the phone, study finds

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Facebook is altering the way we communicate, according to new research by the good peeps at Ovum.

Almost half of UK consumers responding to Ovum’s survey said that social networking platforms have adversely affected their use of email services.

But wait, there’s more. A cool 40 per cent blamed Facebook for a decline in the use of voice fixed services, 34 per cent said they made fewer mobile phone calls due to you-know-who, and 29 per cent said the number of text messages they send was heading south.

Ovum telecoms senior analyst and report co-author Mark Giles commented: “The results of our survey show that social media is negatively impacting all forms of communication provided by telecoms companies.”

And it seems that the whipper-snappers are behind the shift in usage.

“The trend is being driven by younger age groups.”

“While it could be argued that younger users will change their habits with age and trend towards the habits of older users who are more reliant on traditional forms of communication, it would be naive to assume this.”

“This is because players such as Facebook are constantly innovating, and are likely to increase their communications capabilities.”

Similarly chatty report co-author Neha Dharia commented: “Telco voice and messaging revenues and telcos’ increasingly outdated pricing models are coming under pressure as a new wave of substitution threatens to sweep the telecoms market.”

“The functional development and increasing availability of social networking platforms on mobile devices is seeing communication via social media eat into more traditional forms of communication.”

So what’s Ovum’s solution to the telcos’ pickle? The analyst outfit reckons more inclusive minutes and lower-priced SMS are the way forward. Meanwhile, some operators have sought to charge a levy on applications that make a meal out of their revenues and bandwidth, such as WhatsApp, Skype and Viber.

Dharia added: “Other operators seem to be utilising a wait and watch approach to social media applications, with some stating that there has been no impact on revenues.”

“However, their stance is likely to change in the future as the battle for voice and messaging heats up.”

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