Social networks could compete with e-mail to be the communication medium of choice for businesses within the next few years, according to research company Gartner. The company predicts that 20% of business communications will take place via social networks by 2014. "The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode. E-mail will take on many social attributes, such as contract brokering, while social networks will develop richer e-mail capabilities," said Monica Basso, a vice president at Gartner.

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