24 July 2006

Reports of the Death of Email Greatly Exagerated

So there have been a couple of surveys among college students indicating that the surveyed population mostly uses IM to keep in touch with their social circle.  They only ever use email to contact companies and "old people" like their parents, and view email as "old fashioned".  This has led some commentators to pronounce the Imminent Demise of Email as communication channel in the Internet.


Social Networks are Killing Email? - I think not! What we are seeing here is the confluence of two things:
  1. Younger people have more time on their hands, and so are more inclined to spend some or much of that time in online communities, or social networks. (Newsflash: Social networks are nothing new.  We've been doing social networks since before we fell out the trees!)  As a result they tend not to use email, preferring IM, as email lacks an immediacy - we're seeing the impatience of youth.
  2. As one ages, one's priorities, as well as the demands on one's time, change.  Therefore, the preferred modes and channels of communication one favours are likely to change with age.  Duh.  Why do I love my cellphone more than my landline?  It does voicemail.  I can disconnect without missing anything.  There are times - many times - when I prefer to disconnect.  I truly won't miss anything important in the endless torrent of attention-grabbing shit, and I need time to myself.  Time to stop and think. Time to reflect.  And I'm not insecure about it.
So, in a nutshell, we see 1) the impatience of being young, and 2) the insecurity of being young, reflected in some surveys that say that young people don't much use email.

And from this, people are extrapolating Email is Dead?  Let's see the same surveys done on the same populations 5, 10, 20 years from now, and lets see how their channels of communication have changed then.  Perhaps then we can begin to draw some conclusions, instead of this bogus pseudo-science.

Otherwise I will stick to my premise: Death of Email Greatly Exagerated.

Disclaimer: I am in my mid-40's and have two sons who fall into the "youth" category, one at Rhodes University, the other a hotshot Software Developer.  As such, my views may be biased.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...