smartphones and listserves

Smartphones and Listserves

Almost everybody in American has a smartphone nowadays. 2/3rds of the population according this Pew study from last year. And if you’re community is a listserve, which runs on old-fashioned email, you might find that idea intimidating. After all, the typical picture you might have of a smartphone user is as a hip, twenty-something who spends most of their time on social media. Someone who thinks email is done and gone with. Smartphones and listserves, you fear, don’t mix well together. Fear not, gentle community manager, let me share some stats from this same study that prove that smartphones are actually great for listserves!

The Skinny on Smartphones and Email

88% percent of all smartphone users still use their smartphone to check email.  (More people on average check their email than use social networking services.)

And this is even more encouraging.

91% of those aged 18-29 check email with their smartphone. (This exactly the same percentage as this age group’s use of social networking services. Email hasn’t been beat yet.)

So more young people check their email with their smartphones even than the average.

Why Smartphones and Listserves Mix Well

This is exciting for email based communities. People still use email, even though they’re on their phones. Better yet, young people still use email! And more of them are viewing their email with their smartphones.

This is great news for listserves, because you don’t need to do anything to make your community more palatable to smartphone users. Unlike forums that are crammed in a tiny mobile browser, email services have already done the work of formatting email to make it easy to read on a smartphone screen. (More on message boards vs listservs.) This is extra important, because according to the survey, 7% of smartphone users pretty much only access the internet via their phone. Also, consider that the rise of the smartphone means that the tiny flip phone is going down, which means email is even easier to read while traveling than it ever has been.

Consider this, if 2/3rds  of the Americans have smartphones, and 88% of those American’s check their email with smartphones, that just means more and better communication from your current community members. Hopefully you’ve seen more constant participation since 2011, when only 35% of the population used smartphones. (Please tell in the comments whether you have or haven’t.) Let’s hope that the numbers keep rising. The age of the smartphone is great news for listserves and the future of email.

What the PEW survey doesn’t give us are good statistics on the usage of smartphones and listserves specifically, but we’ll give them a pass on that this time.

Do you keep up with your discussion groups via your smartphone? Tell us in the comments.

Miranda Regan

Miranda Regan

Freelance Writer & Editor at
A freelance editor who also writes about people, tech, English grammar, and anything else she can cram into a paragraph, Miranda's been hopping around online communities since she was 11 and wasn't allowed to play Neopets.

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Miranda Regan

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