Social Networking Slowly Taking Over E-mail, Says Gartner

If you find yourself using Facebook to send out work-related emails to coworkers, you're not alone.

According to a new report issued by Gartner, 20% of business users will use social networks as their primary means of business communications by 2014. Gartner says it expects e-mail clients from Microsoft and IBM will soon start integrating with social networking sites, giving users access to their e-mails, contacts and calendars from their favorite social networking platform. What's more, Gartner says that contact lists, calendars and messaging clients on smartphones will all be capable of connecting with social networking platforms by 2012.

How to tame the social network at work

"The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode," says Gartner analyst Monica Basso. "E-mail will take on my social attributes… while social networks will develop richer e-mail capabilities."

Gartner also predicts that more of these social network-enabled e-mail clients will move away from on-premises networks and into the cloud. By the end of 2010, Gartner projects that 10% of corporate e-mail accounts will be in the cloud, up from 7% in 2009.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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