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E-mail is outta style. Immediacy is in.

March 20, 2007

It had to happen sooner or later. Apparently email is going to be the realm of old people starting any day now. Email had a very long run and will likely take a while yet to die out, but soon it will be as unusual for your average tech-savvy person as the payphone is now. Perhaps I exaggerate, but not too wildly. Seems that people (particularly young ones) like text-messaging so much that email seems awfully formal, demanding a lot of time and overhead (like having to sit at a computer and open a piece of software and all). This ties to my experience with the 15-yr olds … clearly, they’d rather clutch the stylish and darn convenient cell-phone than attempt to hunt down a computer, compose something, then wait for a reply. These people seem to be remarkably social, like to make themselves accessible as much as possible, and to really value immediacy. The same thing seems to be true of MySpace (apparently now replaced by “virb“, a pretty nifty kind of persoanl space thingy), where people are just around all of the time, ready to be be-friended, or chatted with, or whatever. Virb seems to add the latest trend of immediacy to this business … “I updated my page 47 seconds ago”, and you’re a loser if you haven’t updated in the last hour. Perhaps the most extreme example of this (that this old guy knows about), is twitter, which allows you to let the world know what you’re doing RIGHT NOW (and now, and now …). I’m quite serious … on twitter, people just post what they’re doing at that moment, and they make friends with other people who are doing … stuff. Posts might read: “Drinking coffee”, and everyone who lists you as a friend, gets a message (by reading the page, RSS, or text-message) to let them know that you’re drinking coffee. It makes no sense, but a bazillion people (including presidential candidate John Edwards) are doing it. Some of these people have thousands of friends, and they continually receive updates … “So what?”, you, quite reasonably, say. I’m not sure what this all means, but while this micro-reporting on one’s life seems very silly, it also seems to be drawing in lots of participants. (and making email seem downright pre-historic … and rational).

 

 

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