This survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project entitled Teens and Technology makes me feel very old. Apparently teens think of email as something they do to communicate online with old people, like teachers. They primarily use IM to communicate online with their friends. I’ll admit that I’m not a great big fan of having long conversations over IM. I use it because it affords me the opportunity to chat with some really cool librarians and because it’s a great medium for doing reference work online, but I’ve never really gotten into it in the way other people my age have. I know it’s better than email in the sense that it offers synchronicity, but I’m not the sort of person who wants to be available all the time (except at work). I remember when my husband and I first started dating — and we lived about 45 minutes apart — he installed Trillian on my computer and wanted to IM me every night. Personally, I’d rather have just talked on the phone.
Sheesh! I’m too young to be taken seriously by vendors and too old (or curmudgeony) to be hip to what the teens are doing! It reminds me of when I was 10 and was too small for the really scary roller coasters, but had gotten too big for the Bugs Bunny Playland at Great Adventure. No fun!
I can just picture Steven Cohen reading this study, rubbing his hands together (à la Mr. Burns) and muttering “excellent”.
I’m with ya. I don’t want to be available all the time. That’s why I always leave my away message on. People who really want to talk to me will IM me anyway. If I’m there, I’ll respond; and if not, I get the message.
I think Steven is a bit premature in calling email a dead tech, but he may be right in the long run. But I suggest it will not exactly be the death of email, but its transformation and integration into IM/VoIP interfaces, in forms such as the voicemail options that Skype already has.