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Meet the new e-mail. Same as the old e-mail?

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Image via CrunchBase

There’s speculation that Facebook could announce on Monday that it will offer a web-based e-mail service to directly compete with Gmail.

Facebook is calling it Project Titan, TechCrunch reported back in February. Michael Arrington wrote at the time that Titan would include full POP and IMAP support along with vanity e-mail addresses,

Reportedly, the company has already sent invitations to an event in San Francisco to be held Monday.

Inside Facebook raises many questions that Facebook webmail poses. Will it be open to app developers? Will it use your existing connections on  Facebook to determine which messages are likely to be more important to you? Will Facebook, given its recent flap with Google over importing/exporting user data, allow its mail users to export their e-mail addresses?

There’s lot of other coverage of this too. You can read it if you’re interested. What I’m more interested in today is the idea of whether e-mail is still useful.

Way back in 2007, Chad Lorenz, writing on, wondered whether e-mail was being made obsolete by text messages, Facebook, IM and Twitter. What he saw happening with teenagers seemed logical. “More so than e-mail,” he wrote, “all of these methods of instant communication mimic the interactions that kids would otherwise have in  basements and dorm rooms. E-mail, by comparison, can feel stilted and plodding.”

Two years later, a 2009 Pew study found that e-mail is still the most popular online activity, but it’s slipping among the younger crowd. While 74 percent of Internet users over the age of 64 use e-mail, only 74 percent of teens said they use e-mail, and that’s down from 89 percent of teens in 2004.

That same year, Nielsen reported that social networking sites have overtaken e-mail to become the world’s fourth biggest online time-sink, behind search, portals and software applications.

So my question is this: Do you still use e-mail? If you do, is it losing ground to your other online presences, like Facebook messages, Twitter and LinkedIn?

Perhaps more topical, I’ll also ask this: Will you use Facebook’s e-mail service (provided it actually launches one) or will you stick with the provider you already have?