By 2014 social networks will have become the primary method of interpersonal communication for around 20 percent of business users.

In March 2009 Nielsen reported that social networking overtook email as the preferred way to communicate, with the average user spending more time on social networks like Facebook than checking their email.

That's not to say email has stopped dead in its tracks. Wireless email - email linked to an account that can be checked regardless of the device you use or the country you are in - is growing fast.

In a June 30 report, market researcher Gartner predicted there will be around 1 billion wireless email users in 2014 as an increasing number of consumers use internet-based communication methods to keep in contact with their friends and colleagues.

"People increasingly want to use mobile devices for collaboration to share content, information, and experiences with their communities," said Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner.

"Social paradigms are converging with e-mail, instant messaging, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and presence, creating new collaboration styles."

Users are drifting towards cloud-based communication services that combine real-time direct messaging, email-like private messaging, social networks, and collaboration. The "wireless e-mail software market" is set to become very competitive as players such as Microsoft, IBM, Google Twitter and Facebook vie to become the go-to communication service on consumers' devices.