Once hailed as technological marvel, e-mail now seems positively geriatric, at least among American teens. Like their peers in Asia and Europe, texting is the preferred way to communicate among friends. That's the latest finding from a Pew Internet study.
As you can see from the chart, text messaging is increasing dramatically, while e-mailing is slowly decreasing. Does that mean that e-mail as we know it might disappear? Well not so fast. E-mail does serve a purpose. According to researchers, e-mail is “used mostly to talk to institutions, adults and others less reachable by text messaging, as well as when teens need to send longer and more complicated messages to a group.”
The entire issue may be moot as communication channels converge. Facebook recently announced a next generation service, Messages, which combines e-mail, text and chat. Send a message to a friend using any communications tool you want. Your friend can receive it anyway she wants (as an e-mail, text, etc.).Â In essence, the focus is on the message, not the technology. So the lines are getting blurred.
Just as radio didn't kill newspapers and television didn't kill the movie business, similar technologies can and do coexist. Even if e-mail seems so 20th century, it may be just the ticket when communicating with your grandparents!