I have been hearing from more and more “everyday folks” (the people
who do not subscribe to RSS feeds or have a blog) that kids these days
are “transitioning off email”. FOXNews mentioned this in November of 2006, DeepJive noted it in Jun 2007, and News.com picked it up a month later in in July.
Perhaps this is a wrong way to phrase it. They are not transitioning off
email, so much as using the more efficient tools at their disposal.
Instead of email, kids are using instant messaging, text messaging, and private (Facebook, MySpace, etc) messaging. This doesn’t even include the non-textual pokes, nudges, and sheep-throwing available on various social networks. Traditional email is considered something that you would use “to communicate with your boss”.
All day, everyday, we all continuously optimize our resource expenditure with the goal of maximizing return while minimizing investment. Each of our choices are factored against two questions and informed by our experience:
- To what degree is this activity likely to fulfill my needs?
- Do I have access to the resources to make this activity successful?
Time and experience has taught them that an SMS will create a beep directly in the pocket of the intended recipient and pokes are something to be “discovered later”.
Each form has its advantages and disadvantages and is selected for desired effect. Similarly, you would resort to a highly archaic form of communication when you want to make really sure something gets read. Down to the post-office we go for a registered letter or sometimes we send the sheriff.
I find it a bit curious that we are so surprised that kids are willing to explore other methods of communication in preference to email. Didn’t you start using your cell almost exclusively instead of your land-line? And how often do you sit down to compose a letter mailed with a stamp?
To end, I’ll include the bit of text that arrived in my inbox from a young gent who’s already done away with capitalizing letters and using apostrophes (Hi Kyle!):
“but i guess i ‘myspace’ or ‘facebook’ or whatever, but thats also just an email system for people that just dont use email (yeah, they certainly exist)“
I know in highschool that I was trained on how to properly address a business letter. Is the next compulsory course in highschool going to be:
“Conducting Business through eMail“