July 30, 2003
Man I feel old
Marriage? Fatherhood? Mortgage? No sweat--I've handled these in stride. But it was a comment by my 15-year-old cousin the other day that made me start to feel old: "email is for old people."
I was born the day the first message was sent over Arpanet. I was born with email. I was in college when email was sweeping academia and entered the workforce just as email did. But now "email is for old people." Both email and I am getting old together.
The replacement, of course, is IM. My cousin informed me that she doesn't even know many of her friends' email addresses--and it doesn't matter because they hardly check it.
This is just one of many behavior patterns of gen y--see Tim Oren's post on Due Diligence that "The 13-24 demographic, a prime target for many marketers, now spends more time online than with the tube."
Email, which to some of us has become a vital resource that we need to live, like air or water, is not even used by some of the most digitally literate! Email isn't as essential as some--particular those who propose regulating speech to preserve it--would have us believe. There are other technologies already and I predict more to follow. This is why I wrote there is a silver lining to spam--it is forcing us to acknowledge the inherent weakness in the medium and prompting us to seek better methods of communication. I bet the future forms of communication, developed in part in an attempt to solve the spam problem, will be better in the end than before the spam problem ever existed.