Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Kids Say Email is Dead 444

An anonymous reader writes "'E-mail is, like, soooo dead' is the headline at, where a piece looks at youth attitudes towards communication mediums. A group of teenage internet business entrepreneurs confessed that they really only use email to 'talk to adults'. Primarily, these folks are using social networks to communicate. 'More and more, social networks are playing a bigger role on the cell phone. In the last six to nine months, teens in the United States have taken to text messaging in numbers that rival usage in Europe and Asia. According to market research firm JupiterResearch, 80 percent of teens with cell phones regularly use text messaging. Catherine Cook, the 17-year-old founder and president of, was the lone teen entrepreneur who said she still uses e-mail regularly to keep up with camp friends or business relationships. Still, that usage pales in comparison to her habit of text messaging. She said she sends a thousand text messages a month.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Kids Say Email is Dead

Comments Filter:
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <> on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:35PM (#19947843) Journal

    This only says what youth does, not what they'll use as adults. I'm guessing for more durable and more effective communications the youth of today will opt for something more substantial than "c u 2nit".

    Youth today do what they do because it's there, not because it's going to replace traditional communications.

    When "we" were young, we passed notes on pieces of paper. The girls passed messages by lip-reading (never understood how they were so good at that). I never saw any articles predicting "note passing", and lip-reading becoming the protocol de jour. If we'd had text messaging, we'd have done it too.

    Consider from the article:

    "I only use e-mail for my business and to get sponsors," Martina Butler
    That seems to contradict the main thesis of the article. Basically, for important things like business and/or sponsors Martina uses e-mail? The e-mail is not dead, or as the article claims like, soooo dead.

    Text messaging, social web sites serve a purpose, not replace one. (This is akin the predictions recently "laptops to replace desktops".)

    Critical thought, thorough discussion, deep understanding -- none are much served by the text messaging medium. (e-mail doesn't do much for them either.)

    They "only use e-mail to 'talk to adults'". They'll use e-mail and more traditional forms of communication when they become adults. It doesn't mean they'll stop using the text messaging and other forms, it just means they'll need the more traditional forms.

    i cld b wrng. i hope im not.

    • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:42PM (#19947901) Journal

      "Sometimes I say I e-mailed you, but I mean I Myspace'd or Facebook'ed you," she said.
      For all intents and purposes, isn't a PM on a social networking site the exact same thing as an e-mail? Just a bit less portable.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Dissman ( 997434 )
        and less secure... I connect to e-mail through SSL, not to mention that i can easily use enigmail to encrypt it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bcat24 ( 914105 )
          Or maybe it's more secure. After all, just because you send an email over a secure connection, that doesn't mean the recipient will download it over a secure connection. A social networking site that redirects all users to an HTTPS URI would solve that problem.

          (Of course, encrypting the message body itself also works, but that's more of a pain than most people are willing to deal with.)
          • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @09:20PM (#19950679)
            On one level yes. Although it means you have to trust the carrier not to go snooping.

            Personally I just use MSN & Jabber for stuff now. My inboxes are spam ridden hellholes, and its just not worth it.

            I actually do think Email's days are numbered. But thats not because of social networking. Its because of fucking spammers. Getting 600+ emails a day *AFTER* its been purged by spamassassin aint fun (I turned it off once and got nearly 2000 emails a day in the inbox. Granted its a 10 year old email address.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Schemat1c ( 464768 )

              My inboxes are spam ridden hellholes, and its just not worth it.
              Use Gmail, about 1 or 2 spams a month slink by the filter but other than that 99.98% spam free.
        • by beyondkaoru ( 1008447 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:40PM (#19950367) Homepage
          connecting through ssl doesn't make email more secure; it can be messed with by your mailserver, the mailserver of whoever you're talking to, or anyone in between those. the usefulness of ssl or ssh is that it is more difficult for me to read/modify your mail/password (i have to hack a server as opposed to optionally controlling a router).

          gpg really is what makes it secure. still, ssl is a plus. strangely gmail defaults to having it off... weird. and they don't do imap, which makes me sad.

          but anyway, the whole social network thing largely exists so that the owners of those servers get to read your messages -- and let future employers, etc, read them too, for a fee. and they don't really do much that people couldn't set up on their own (like, have everyone make an rss feed of their life and aggregate it, is an example).
      • by Doogie5526 ( 737968 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @05:43PM (#19948755) Homepage
        This is the thing the drives me nuts about all the social network messaging and whatnot. I've had friends say "I'll myspace you (something)." and I'd wonder why they couldn't just email it. Hell, myspace (and others) just send you an email to tell you that you have a private message. It makes things harder to search through (was that a myspace message, facebook message, forum pm, or email?). I can understand using it to keep your email addy private, but it shouldn't replace email, especially when there's no additional benefits.
        • especially when there's no additional benefits.

          What you're missing is that social network messaging solves THE problem that email has. You know who sent you the message. And barrier to spam is higher than with email.

          Lots of other email-like functionality is missing, but the authentication issue (sender and receiver have authenticated themselves to a third party) has been fixed.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Doogie5526 ( 737968 )
            I still fail to see the benefit. I've never had a problem of who sent me a message (among my circle of friends). If I know them, they're in my address book and I see it was from them. I've never had a problem of emails spoofing my known contacts.

            Yes they've authenticated with a third party, but it doesn't mean I know them or want them to message me. I get myspace message spam all the time.

            The same benefits claimed could be accomplished with a white-list.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ryanov ( 193048 )
            Bzzzt, wrong.

            I get "I'm cute, please come fuck me tonight" spam all the time on there. I know I'm irresistible and all, but... I think the volume is suspicious.
      • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @06:37PM (#19949265)
        "Less portable" is a significant difference.... at least when you grow up and leave your little adolescent social circle for the real world. The reason telephone, email, and snail-mail are still in such wide use today is that they are ubiquitous. You can reach just about anyone with them. A PM on a social networking site is limited to that social networking site. It cannot become a primary means of communication in the long term. Instant Messaging has a similar limitation. Several times I've tried to establish IM as a primary means of communication with people and it often comes down to "Oh, I don't have an _____ account." So you either get an account with every major service or you fall back to more universal (though perhaps slower) means of communication such as email.

    • by Divebus ( 860563 )

      I never saw any articles predicting "note passing", and lip-reading becoming the protocol de jour.

      As soon as my teachers krakd pig latin, I stopped using000c

  • by Brad1138 ( 590148 ) * <> on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:35PM (#19947845)
    When all these kids get in the real world and have more important things to do than pay constant/immediate attention to the cell phone's IM's it won't be so "cool" and useful. An intelligent communication can be handled a lot better through an E-mail (or phone call or in person) than IM'ing.
    • by amstrad ( 60839 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:38PM (#19947863)
      Holy crap! You haven't been around very many middle management types with their crackberries, have you?
    • by daeg ( 828071 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:30PM (#19948265)
      I already shudder at any group in my company hiring anyone under 25, and I'm under 25! I can't imagine relying on teenagers as a labor source (grocery stores, restaurants, etc). Even the interns we get from a very well-to-do private school are, in terms of professionalism, socially retarded. I've had to filter and lock down their e-mail and other communications from them to our clients because their messages are full of misspellings, wrong words, "u" instead of "you", and bad structure altogether. How do you misspell "their" with Outlook? I have to TRY to misspell it and even then it isn't easy.
      • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @05:23PM (#19948641)
        Relax. I'm sure their enhanced 'esteem' will more than make up for their lack of spelling and grammar knowledge.
      • I shudder along with you, but I'd say if their job requires writing something, ask for a resume, and maybe have them write a letter about why they want to work at your company, what their goals are, etc.

        In other words, have their first contact with you be via email. Bonus: You can probably write a script to reject the ones who can't spell "you" before it hits your inbox, though I wouldn't recommend it.
    • When I was a kid, when ICQ was new, all of us used ICQ or (later) AIM to communicate anyway. None of us used email to strike up conversations and organize stuff, because we needed that spur-of-the-moment realtime interaction that augmented calling the person up on the phone.

      IM supplanted the phone because not everyone had cell phones at the time, and calling the person up would interrupt the rest of the family unless they had a private line. More than likely they were tying up the one phone line for the int
  • by Ckwop ( 707653 ) * <> on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:37PM (#19947851) Homepage

    I don't know about you guys but when ten years ago when I was fourteen, e-mail was dead too. Initially, I used to use Web based IM clients to talk to my friends quickly followed by ICQ and and even later MSN.

    I only started using e-mail when my group of friends started working full time. I think the reason for this is that e-mail is mostly open at work because it's required for the business. Moreover, employers don't really care if you e-mail your friends from your account, provided you're not taking the piss. In contrast, browsing social networking sites from work can get you sacked.

    In short, there's nothing new here. I think the youngsters of today will follow the same path as I did ten years ago; they will adopt e-mail when their circle of friends grow-up and go to work.


    • Moreover, employers don't really care if you e-mail your friends from your account, provided you're not taking the piss. In contrast, browsing social networking sites from work can get you sacked.
      Strange policy your employer has. I've never sent a personal email from my company account, nor have I ever made a personal phone call from a company phone. Unless I've given them a business card, my friends and family don't even know how to contact me at work. And why should they? I have a cell phone for personal calls and I use gmail for personal email. Do you really want your personal emails archived along with every other corporate email in perpetuity? So the next time the company is issued a court order to produce a log of emails, all your personal junk is in there too and made public record for anyone to see?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Firethorn ( 177587 )
        nor have I ever made a personal phone call from a company phone.

        You've never called your significant other that you're going to be late? You've never called up your insurance agent from work? Made an appointment with your doctor?

        Most employers don't mind a little bit - but when it takes hours out of your day, then it becomes an issue. Other than that, the occasional phone call to get an issue sorted out can result in an employee who's not obsessing over it, thus being a happier and more productive worker
      • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @07:14PM (#19949611)

        Strange policy your employer has. I've never sent a personal email from my company account, nor have I ever made a personal phone call from a company phone. Unless I've given them a business card, my friends and family don't even know how to contact me at work. And why should they?

        I dunno... in case of emergency? Maybe if your cell phone is not getting a signal, is misplaced, or is uncharged?

        I have a cell phone for personal calls

        So what difference does it make whether you get a personal call on your cell phone or your desk phone? Either way you're taking/making a personal call on company time. Seems like a pretty arbitrary distinction to me.

        What if your cell phone is paid for by your company? Do you just not get any personal calls except for at home? Would you own two different cell phones?

        Do you really want your personal emails archived along with every other corporate email in perpetuity?

        Well, I'm not going to be passing love notes on the corporate email. Besides those types of messages, why not? What do I care?

        So the next time the company is issued a court order to produce a log of emails, all your personal junk is in there too and made public record for anyone to see?

        Dude, if there's a court order to see my corporate email, I'm going to have bigger things to worry about than having some boring personal messages go public. :-P


      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by syousef ( 465911 )
        My employer blocks webmail. Justification is they're scared of virii getting through (even though they have web filtering). When this came in I did fight it but not very hard because I knew I'd get nowhere. My main agrument was do you really want people asking for help on web forums and usenet using real mail addresses. (We still can use Google groups so usenet is not such a problem anyway). It's damned inconvenient though.

        Every employer is different and it's not your top priority when deciding whether to t
  • by jdogalt ( 961241 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:39PM (#19947869) Journal
    So people are using _different clients_ to send their ascii messages.


  • Would be surprised to know that SMS is almost exactly the same protocol as SMTP.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bdraschk ( 664148 )
      No way. MMS is very similar to email, but SMS is SS7-based, which is as weird a protocol as only the telco types could come up with.
    • Most of them wouldn't even know what you're talking about, because they don't know what a protocol is, and they don't care. Why should the? As long as it works they have no more need to know how their IM or email works than they know about how Windows works. (or doesn't, as the case may be)
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:39PM (#19947881)
    Now get the hell off my lawn.

  • Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tarlus ( 1000874 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:40PM (#19947887)
    Teenage Social Agenda != Professional Business Applications
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Prof.Phreak ( 584152 )
      While I agree with you, I can't help but think that it might've been precisely the thing IBM said in the 70s when it saw kids playing with garage built computers.

      Maybe we're old farts who are missing something fundamental, and in 30 years, people will laugh how short sighted we all were...
      • I doubt it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @10:19PM (#19951193)
        Different technologies have different uses. IM, text messaging, e-mail, etc have not killed phone calls. Why? Phone calls allow for you to hear someone's voice, which is useful and/or nice in a number of different situations. Likewise IM will not kill e-mail. IM is nice, and I have an IM client running pretty much all the time but it's more for contacting friends with quick tech questions, or BSing while I was for a slow lab install to finish. It would work for support, because IM expects a realtime response which I can't always give. E-mail works much better hence why we use it. Likewise, my parents, friends, etc often will e-mail me when I'm at work because they have something to say or want information, but realise that I may be busy and not able to immediately respond.

        As for communicating on social network sites, this is just people playing around. E-mail has the same function, but is universally compatible. We are not going to go around telling everyone at work they have to sign up for myspace. Sure it may be fun to use when you are talking to friends who also have accounts, but it does not replace the universal access of e-mail.

        You have to remember that they aren't talking about any new technology here. IM/text messaging have been around for a long time, and social network sites are doing nothing other than sending e-mails in a closed system.

        For a technology to kill off another technology it more or less has to either be a better version or really change the way we live to the point we don't need the old technology. None of this is a better e-mail, hence e-mail is fine.
  • by mojowantshappy ( 605815 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:40PM (#19947893) soon I'll be using myspace to update my boss on my TPS reports?
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:42PM (#19947903)
    Yes youth use text messaging... But there is another reason... A more realistic reason... COST...

    Talking on the phone is expensive. Sending messages is cheap. Do you REALLY think that kids prefer sending messages to talking? "Why when I was young" kids were talking hours and hours on the phone. WHY? Because local calls were FREE... If kids had the option to talking or sending messages via a keyboard, they would have talked, not text messaged...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by grazzy ( 56382 )
      Wrong, here in sweden (a country with VERY high ratio of text messages sent to spoken minutes on the phone) a SMS is around 14 cents, but talking on the phone for a minute is about the same.

      What is the cheapest? Certainly not sending 120 characters versus the communication time you get for the correpsonding call time.
      • I don't have a complete command of Swedish... I looked at some of the Swedish sites and the costs. And yes I still stand by saying sending SMS messages are cheapest:

        Let's say that you send 300 SMS messages. At TeliaSoner I looked at it was 0.69 SEK, which would be a grand total 180 SEK. Now let's say you wanted to talk that time. The price again is about 0.69 SEK, which means for a typical month the teenager has 10 minutes to talk to their friends. No teenager talks 10 minutes. Yet 10 SMS messages is pretty
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 )
      Yes, some people prefer sending messages to talking. Women in their 20s do it a lot... I see them at parties gossiping about other people at the party, it's really annoying.
    • And what plan are you on? With 600-1000 mins + free night/weekends becoming low end, how is adding $15-20 a month for unlimited text messages a saving? Kids are supposed to be in school about 8 hours a day right? There is no need to be calling your friends *before* school since you are probably only waking up half an hour before you are supposed to be in class anyways. So for the amount of time between school end and night billing I'd say standard minutes are way cheaper.
    • by ozzee ( 612196 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:51PM (#19948417)

      But there is another reason... A more realistic reason... COST...

      I have a counter-example. I had a "family" plan with Cingular - oodles of roll-over talk time, free after 7PM etc etc but no allowance for text messages. Before I stopped allowing text messages, my daughter racked up $335 in text messaging in the second month of the plan which was after I told her the text messaging was coming out of her pocket - that's 3,350 text messages that month - over 100 per day - admittedly she paid for incoming as well as outgoing messages. This is the case where talk was free and SMS was expensive.

      Go figure...

      After that month she toned down on the messages but I still removed that service from the plan altogether after the 5th month or so as it was proving too expensive and I didn't want to spend money on a service that could be easily dealt with using plan old voice !

    • by dn15 ( 735502 )

      Talking on the phone is expensive. Sending messages is cheap.

      Not on my phone. I never go over my allotted minutes, and calls in-network don't even count. But every text message I send costs $0.10 and every one I send is $0.02. It sucks, but c'est la vie. I hate text messaging not only because it's cumbersome and more time-consuming than a quick call (at least as long as I don't have an iPhone :P) but because it actually does cost more in many instances.

    • Yeah, I don't agree with that. As someone else said, text messaging has more to do with convenience. You can send an receive texts during class, dinner, meeting (rude), or wherever. More generally, I would say that texting is the preferred alternative when you don't want to interrupt what you are doing to communicate with a person. Suppose you just want to say one thing to them -- something funny, something about what you're currently doing. Instead of calling them and taking your attention (and that of eve
  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:42PM (#19947905) Homepage Journal
    radio (not dead)
    television (not dead)
    the newspaper (not dead)
    the cinema house (very not dead)


    no form of mass communication ever dies, it just moves out of the limelight. and then it's called "dead" by people wishing to make a melodrama out of the evolution of media
    • Minitel.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:42PM (#19947907)
    ... I see this all the time. My take on it: younger people are in a hurry for response. They want immediate replies. But adults (as will these teens eventually) live in a different world, where the speed of response is part of the value but the message itself is important, too. I have to train my students to understand that leaving an email message for me will always result in a response, even if it is a little later, while IM may not.

    From another perspective, MySpace and Facebook have messaging features which are simply email in a different form (posting to the web site). I am still at a loss to understand why posting a message on a web site (with the exception of group communication) is more beneficial than sending an email.

    • From another perspective, MySpace and Facebook have messaging features which are simply email in a different form (posting to the web site). I am still at a loss to understand why posting a message on a web site (with the exception of group communication) is more beneficial than sending an email.

      Because it's cool, or something like that. What's really cool is that you get to splinter your communication into email, SMS, MySpace, Facebook, Pownce, etc when you could do the same thing with just plain old emai

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:42PM (#19947909)
    Yeah, that's sure to cut you a better than fair sampling of the "youth culture."

    And in a related story, a survey of classically-trained teenaged cellists has determined that young people are listening to less hip-hop and have begun to prefer champagne to beer.

    Now, how do I text-message "GET OFF OF MY LAWN" ? Anybody...?
    • by nwbvt ( 768631 )

      "Yeah, that's sure to cut you a better than fair sampling of the "youth culture.""

      I'm assuming they are also taking into consideration observations of their peers. I wouldn't be surprised if email wasn't that popular with young kids, after all, how many of them even have reliable email addresses (compared to college students and office workers)? If a group of kids are all on the same social networking site and are all active users of it, it would be easier for them to use it to communicate with each ot

  • ...and they have no clue what they're talking about. Try handling multiple conversations on multiple topics concurrently on your cell phone. How are you going to send attachments? Search e-mails for pertinent data? Think in full sentences? Write multi-paragraph, logical arguments and positions that are a sign of and required of adulthood? Whoever is relying on text messaging and adding multiple steps by effectively using proprietary online mail on social networking sites isn't a future anything of tom
  • by cromar ( 1103585 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:45PM (#19947935)
    ... Long live email.

    P.S. I wish face-to-face speech would die. I hate my coworkers.
  • In Korea... (Score:3, Funny)

    by nurhussein ( 864532 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @03:53PM (#19947987) Homepage
    ...only old people use email []. Looks like the US has caught up with Korea. I thought the "in Korea..." thing made a good internet meme. It didn't really catch on that well though.
  • by ZakuSage ( 874456 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:02PM (#19948049)
    Primarily, it's because they want to talk when they're at work, in school, or on the go, but the vast majority of them can't afford a Blackberry.
  • I keep in contact with my friends mainly by texting, MMSes or LiveJournal. E-mail is used mostly for business. The only friends I e-mail, are my American ones (who for some reason can't text me back or can't handle MMSes) and I e-mail them from my phone.
  • Slashdot continues approving junk as newsworthy.
  • Relevance (Score:5, Funny)

    by Token_Internet_Girl ( 1131287 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:12PM (#19948115)
    I can't give you an educated response because I'm texting my BFF Jill.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:15PM (#19948143)
    "I was writing an email on the PC, and it was, like, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep-- and then, like, half of my email was gone. And I was, like- It devoured my email. It was a really good email. And then I had to do it again and I had to do it fast so it wasn't as good. It's kind of a bummer."

  • by ElGanzoLoco ( 642888 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:17PM (#19948163) Homepage
    ... until they have to send their first resumé and cover letter :)

    On a more serious note, I have just been sucked into the wonderful/scary world of Facebook, and I must say, wow. I knew people liked to reinvent the wheel all the time, but what's with this new thing of "writing" on each other's "wall" instead of just sending emails? What was wrong with emails in the first place? I mean, I can see the attraction of writing fun things on these "walls", but many go much beyond that and use it to organize meetings, leave their phone numbers, addresses, and whereabouts for the next 3 weeks, for the recipient, but also everyone else to see.

    So either this generation does not realize what it's doing (basically posting their contact details while broadcasting their private lives on teh internets), or it doesn't care at all about that thing called privacy.

    I haven't even reached 30, and I already feel like I'm getting old :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mr_matticus ( 928346 )

      but what's with this new thing of "writing" on each other's "wall" instead of just sending emails?

      More flexible messaging tools. As a fellow "old person" I've never understood why email clients don't provide a simple way of sorting address books and threading conversations with individuals. You're also presented with a message space in a convenient location--looking up someone's profile for their mailing address or current email allows you to send a quick message right there. The profile is self-managed, so you don't have to worry about it being out of date. If the person wants current information

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TeknoHog ( 164938 )

      I knew people liked to reinvent the wheel all the time, but what's with this new thing of "writing" on each other's "wall" instead of just sending emails?

      The article ends with the problem of lots of separate communities: "It's a problem for teens--you're like losing out on some of your friends if you choose just one. To have all your buddy lists in one place, that's where this is going." So they are working on finally getting to a point where we've been with email for decades.

      Also, it's quite sad that sometimes you hear kids talking like "What's your Hotmail address?", as if electronic communication requires a closed web-based system. I imagine it woul

  • IM is annoying (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cthefuture ( 665326 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:18PM (#19948169)
    Over time I think these kids will learn that in the real world where you're trying to get work done, IM is annoying as hell. It's like having someone call you on the phone every few seconds. No thanks.

    E-mail, web forums, and other "delayed" forms of communication are so much better for almost everything.

    IM is really only a substitute for the phone. And then only when it makes sense, like to save money on long distance or when you need to be quiet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      I find the telephone to be annoying as people expect immediate access, and immediate attention. I mean, I may be hanging with my friend, having a nice cuddle, and the phone rings and people get bent out of shape because you won't answer. I ask, what is more evil than being expected to interrupt a cuddle for some bozo who wants to sell you insurance, or even a friend that just wants to check on some activity for the next week. Both of those things can wait.

      I found email to be a liberating innovation as

  • by harmonica ( 29841 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:23PM (#19948215)
    I can archive my e-mail discussions, save them to an mbox file and load them into most other mail applications. That's not possible with all that web-based stuff. With some IM programs exporting works, too, but it's hard or impossible to import those discussions elsewhere. Text messages as part of a cellphone - can you archive those? I never tried.

    Anyway, I still have my first mail conversations from the mid 90s. Can't say the same thing for other forms of digital conversation.
  • Give them time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:34PM (#19948291) Homepage Journal
    Once the grow up they will realize that not everything needs to be instantaneous short bursts of emoticons, and you really do want to send people actual coherent thoughts ( ie, "letters" ) at times.
  • Email is a P2P protocol that can survive the loss of service on a given provider.

    Facebook is totally centralised and will disappear one day and take all the contents with it (as will myspace, twitter etc.)
  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:58PM (#19948471)
    Teenagers shallow and faddish. Details at 11.
  • Sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gregholt ( 90624 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @04:59PM (#19948481)
    Why do I read the "news" here? Seems they try to find all the mildly sensationalist stuff they can, and now the news. The logical fallacy is obvious but, just in case, the conclusion made is that if kids do X more than Y, then X will win and Y will die out. While that conclusion *can* be true, it isn't true on its own grounds. They could grow out of it. With kids, fads are embraced and discarded at a very high rate.

    Still, I guess it's fun for moment to imagine a Corporate MySpace system. Even more fun to imagine it as the primary communications method with the email server turned off. I bet somebody would build a client so they could easily send and retrieve their MySpace postings.

    Oh, and far as the mail is dying "given the annoyance of spam", gimme a break. Spam will migrate to any sufficiently used open communications medium. Hell, have you seen all the anti-spam tools bloggers have to use these days?
  • I almost never use email as a way to communicate with my friends, and when I do, the emails resemble text messages more than email anyway. One the other hand, I use email as the primary way to communicate with my business associates.
  • Money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @05:21PM (#19948631) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure this all comes back to the almighty buck.

    Remember that it effectively costs nothing to send an email, but I've yet to see an SMS messaging service with a pricing model I like. That isn't to say I don't use SMS, I just don't like it :)

    With telcos buying up ISPs in droves, it's in their interests to keep kids off email and TXTing each other for as long as possible. As a side-effect, don't expect much progress from your ISP on the spam-battling front.

    I think I'll stick with email for now.

  • I can understand it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by poliopteragriseoapte ( 973295 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @05:25PM (#19948653)

    I can understand it. I grew up doing email, now email is my main communication medium, I am in my 40s, and you know what? I am shifting more and more towards IM myself. Why? Consider the following:

    • No spam.
    • Email fills your inbox. If you don't have time to answer something, it stays there, begging for your time forever - or at least, for the couple of weeks it takes me to realize that no, I will never in fact get back to that, and I'll file it away from my attention. You have all these "open" communication threads, things to which you own an answer but you don't care enough. IM is not like that. If you are away, people don't IM you. If you have an IM conversation, when it's closed, it's closed, you move on to other stuff - you don't have this feeling of these hundreds of threads demanding your attention.
    • IM requires symmetrical effort. In email, a lot of the messages I get are sent to more than one person: workplace mailing lists, even the usual habit of CCs. The junk accumulates, and this is a bigger problem than spam, as there are no effective automatic filters for workplace mailing-lists. In IM, if somebody IMs me, they are giving me their full attention.

    We as humans are not geared to multiprocessing and having a hundred open threads of communication. I want to talk or IM with someone, say what we want to say, then move on to other things with our full attention, without this lingering feeling that there is a zillion things we haven't really taken care of and we are leaving open.

    If you are wondering, I might get only about 30/40 emails a day, and I may write only 20 or so, but still it's a chore. Young people communicate more, and I can fully understand why they prefer IM, so more similar to speech, so more natural, so more lightweight. I am going the same direction myself, and let me tell you, it feels liberating. I look forward to the day when all the communication with colleagues and friends is over IM, and email is relegated to that twice-a-week habit that is now for me physical mail.

  • Because of spam? (Score:5, Informative)

    by FridayBob ( 619244 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @05:57PM (#19948867) Homepage
    Earlier this year, I discussed this matter with a 16-year-old girl. She said she preferred IM (MSN) over SMTP, because any email account she used would quickly get overloaded with spam. Many of us have different ways of dealing with that problem, but her solution was simply to never use the same email account for too long if she had to use it, and preferably not to use it at all. I suspect that this is not the only reason why she and her friends don't like to use email, but by itself spam seems like a valid complaint.
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @06:06PM (#19948963)
    This is pretty far down for a reply but I've got to post this...

    My great grandmother passed down an old photograph book containing postcards she had received (we're talking circa 1900's) to my grandmother who, in turn, passed it to my mother who, in turn, was about to throw it in the garbage when I intercepted it (Being the family geek/tech/now digital archivist)

    They were 1 cent postcards containing one or two sentence messages addressed from my grandmother and her sisters to family relations the next state over.

    Or so I thought... the messages were your standard high-school girl talk along the lines of "I went out to the after-game dance with so and so last night, looking forward to seeing you this weekend." From the postcards it seemed like they saw each other every week. Not a big deal until you consider that transportation consisted of horse, buggy and train so no family was going to make a weekly journey by train unless they were rich (whoo-hoo!) Until I remembered that my family wasn't (D'oh!)

    A little more research and I realized they weren't in different states, they were in neighboring towns (long since absorbed into greater cities), no phones were arount yet so I was looking at the early 20th century equivalent of...

    text messaging.

    And my great-grandmother, in her nostalgia, had collected all the messages they had received from her sisters and cousins and saved them in this album.

    Kind of unfortunate that we won't be able to keep the same for our great grandkids (and thus omg! cnt w8 2cu 2nit @ cncrt! lol! will be lost to the centuries...)
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @07:48PM (#19949923)
    I suppose you can compare, but really they are different enough animals to both hold individual merit.

    Heck, I still use the paper post system all the time, because electronic mail is useless for physical delivery of packages. Of course.

    Text messaging is for people who want real-time, but for whom clarity and deliberate content are not important. I must be old, because I find communications done in IM seem to have a rather light-weight ADD quality about them. --Which is probably appropriate for kids these days. --Keeping in mind, that the kids using computer communications are regular kids who are worried about clothes and popularity contests and who's dating who, etc. Light fluffy stuff. Email was developed by geeks for geeks, and because of its usefulness, was adopted by business, and I expect will remain in use that way for some time to come. (Try keeping 50 clients sorted in real-time!) Maybe when the ADD kids raised and trained in information sorting of that magnitude reach the business world, they will create a different type of work place and style of business management, but I don't see how they'll manage without something as stable as email. Attention to detail, record keeping and being able to take an hour or a few days to think about all the ramifications of a question before responding become important when you enter the business world.

    (Although, given some of the communications I've done a back and forth on with various businesses might sometimes suggest otherwise.)

    I see IM and today's social networks as having potential for something very useful in the future, but right now they still seem to be in a rather proto-gimik-time-wasting stage of development. When the business world finally adopts them, it will mean that their value has been proven, at which point the next New Hip Thing will be popular with the kids, and only old farts will spend time on Facebook. If we survive long enough as a culture, that is. . .


  • by Igmuth ( 146229 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @02:07AM (#19952711)
    I'm surprised no one has pointed out the fact that the same thing happed 3 years ago: In South Korea, email is for old people []

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison