It’s happening folks. eMail is dying. Oh, I know it’s hard to see through your overflowing inbox, but it’s happening. No, I am not happy about this; I don’t want to change either. No, I don’t think we can reverse it. No, I don’t think it’s because of the terrorists. It’s because it is becoming inferior.
There are now, as I see it, three generations of electronic mail messagers living in America:
1. The never-did’s. These are folks who have just never actually become regular digital messengers. They use email infrequently if ever, and haven’t moved to anything else either. They make phone calls, send letters, and talk to people. Phillistines!
2. The now-do’s. This is me and very likely you. We use email because that was what became really really necessary sometime last decade, and we use it daily, because so does everyone else we know. We think it’s pretty necessary.
3. The never-will’s. This group uses email to, in the classic words of my ninth graders, “send stuff to old people.” I took offense to that. I really did. But then I realize that it’s probably the fact that this group sees it very much that way. These folks text, use Facebook, Tweet, or Skype, among many other alternates to eMail. They have never needed it, and they likely never will.
Guess which group is growing? The never-will’s add to their ranks every year while now-do’s continue to convert. In less than ten years, I predict that the third group will be the industry and social standard for electronic messaging. The tech may change, but I think eMail is going to become akin to Friendster, Microsoft Works, and Sega Genesis. It’s happening. These folks are becoming our peers and our bosses, and soon, if you can’t text, you can’t communicate in the mainstream world.
Will something eventually move the whole spectrum back once again? Probably. But it’s impossible to see that on the horizon right now. Now, I’m going to go practice thumb-typing. I might someday need to text in my blog posts.