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The Future of Email, or, Get The Hell Off My Lawn - The Mad Schemes of Dr. Tectonic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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The Future of Email, or, Get The Hell Off My Lawn [Feb. 15th, 2011|10:27 pm]
So somebody on twitter linked to some blog about "teens hate email, and therefore it is doomed".

I have seen this argument before, and it makes me crazy because it is so goddamn STUPID.

Is email a lousy way to chat with your friends? Absolutely. Is it awkward and cumbersome for inviting people to social events? In many ways, yes, it is. Is it kind of lame for sharing some cool thing you just saw on the web? Oh, very yes.

And behold! The rise of facebook and tumblr and twitter and a bajillion other social media kinds of thingies, which are nicer and more fun and easier for all that social kind of stuff.


Are any of these social media appropriate channels for business communications? Like, "Hi John, I need to order 75 units for delivery by next Friday," or "John, any word on the delivery? We really need it," or "Dear Mr. Johnson, if we do not receive our delivery on time, you will be in breach of contract"?

HELL TO THE GODDAMN NO! What are you, crazy?

If you're going to make pronouncements about what teen behavior suggests about the future of communications, it's important to remember that teenagers do not live like grown-ups do, and that therefore their communications needs might be just a wee bit different. Teens don't have real jobs where you need have to look something up from several months ago, or have a record of some kind that establishes accountability, or stringently control where information flows, or fulfill legal requirements regarding confidentiality. They also don't have 401-K accounts, or life insurance, or mortgages, or PTO for taking sick kids to the doctor, or any of that kind of thing. They have social events and homework and dates and that's about it.

Not that I'm particularly enamored of email or anything. I would like to send less of it, to be honest. But it has some salient features for professional use that social media alternatives do not.

And it's just so bleeding OBVIOUS that what people prefer as teens might not be the sole determining factor in what they do once they become actual adults that I am made a bit becrabbified that anybody would take the argument seriously. Come on, people, THINK! Use your brainmeats! Don't parrot arguments just because they make you feel good, actually evaluate what they have to say!

Now get off my goddamn lawn!

[User Picture]From: sluggobear
2011-02-16 08:56 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2011-02-16 12:06 pm (UTC)
I thought I would comment that we've been encouraged to IM people at work for "emergency communications" because otherwise things get buried in email.

And it's true. I used to be great at taming the email beast, but when my job got overwhelming, it was the first thing to go. I at very least read them all, but responding to them is a different issue, entirely.

Though, yes, I work in one of those offices where every tiny change in status on an order releases an email notification. And no one seems to know that it's rude to 'reply all' when their response does not need to include 'all.'
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[User Picture]From: kev_bot
2011-02-16 01:34 pm (UTC)
In other news: teens don't like broccoli, so they've stopped growing it forever.
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[User Picture]From: drdeleto
2011-02-16 02:27 pm (UTC)
You're assuming teenagers are going to have JOBS!!
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[User Picture]From: kung_fu_monkey
2011-02-16 03:06 pm (UTC)
Don't forget your cane, dear.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2011-02-16 05:49 pm (UTC)
I just have to finish installing the hidden micro-missile array.
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[User Picture]From: kung_fu_monkey
2011-02-16 05:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, good! I'm glad to see you installing that. Just make sure it doesn't get in the way of the built-in snack and medication dispenser, okay?
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[User Picture]From: pink_halen
2011-02-16 05:22 pm (UTC)
I agree with you but I have had some thoughts about this lately. I fear that Many people don't read or use their email because of all the spam problems. They prefer texting to emails and even phone calls. They don't want to wade past things to get to the gold. The text is instantanious. The social medias are about the same. I fear that people are judging email as just too much trouble. They have certainly done that with snail mail. When was the last time you got a formal invitation to a party by mail. Pehaps it was the one that I sent. Yes, I'm very old school about these things.

As for the Lawn . . . I put up an electric fence.

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[User Picture]From: annlarimer
2011-02-16 05:24 pm (UTC)
I thought we'd killed all the teenagers. I'd better carve some more arrowheads.
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[User Picture]From: shirtlifterbear
2011-02-16 08:11 pm (UTC)
"OMG, Becky, there is no way I want my boss or my mom on my twitter! Email is SO the only way!"
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[User Picture]From: tallou
2011-02-16 11:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for expressing this. So true. Not to say anything about the inutility of using SMS/instant messaging to submit, say, homework.
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