Why your child doesn’t know his best friend’s email address (The Coming Collapse Of Email)

email is dead

the kids are comparing it to "snail mail".

just think about all the businesses they just killed.

and all the ones they just created.

In Korea, where folks buy sodas with cellphones, email use started declining in 2004.

In the US, use of email among teens and young adults is down 8%

And it ain't going back up.

Explore posts in the same categories: cellphones, DEAD, email, IM, Instant Messaging, MySpace, TagWorld

22 Comments on “Why your child doesn’t know his best friend’s email address (The Coming Collapse Of Email)”

  1. Brian Says:

    From the Mercury News article:

    “It’s too complicated to send e-mail,” Jennica said. “I have to go in and type it, and send it, then wait for a reply.”

    We are creating monsters! πŸ™‚

    Can you imagine having to market to these kids? What will they be like as adults?

    Great post Char. Things everyone needs to be thinking about if you plan on being economically relevant in the future (now).

  2. Brian Says:

    Of course, I think email will stick around for business. Because even kids grow up and realize that instant communication is not always a good thing.

  3. I agree with Brian. Office workers will continue to use email.

  4. I recall sitting in at a talk at SXSW and the speaker said his kids no longer use email because myspace has replaced it with the messaging. They said the reason their kids were moving away from email was the spam issue.
    I don’t know about you, but spammers are already on myspace.

    btw, nice redesign char.

  5. chartreuse Says:


    I think in the coming years things will just get faster. as these young people get into the business world I think the business world will change, not the other way around.

    If you grew up with instant messaging, you will expect it and not understand why you can’t use it.

    How a people communicate affects everything they touch. Socially and economiclly included.

  6. ALicia Says:

    e-mail not dead!

  7. Brian Says:

    >>If you grew up with instant messaging, you will expect it and not understand why you can’t use it.

    It’s not that you can’t use it — corporations use IM now.

    It’s that you don’t want to. When the content is Q3 financial projections instead of Nick Lache’s ass, sometimes you can wait.

  8. chartreuse Says:

    Just like there will always be snail mail, right? πŸ™‚

    My point is that it will become the dominate form of communication. And folks already can’t live without their Blackberrys. So actually the kids may be behind the curve on this!

  9. ann michael Says:

    I’ve used IM at work for a while – there’s nothing like a quick answer. But when you need to make something “official” or keep the conversation around to refer to later – IM is still kind of clumsy for that.

    I completely agree that the work environment will change as these kids start to enter it (but they’ll change a bit too – hey, their already realizing that potential employers read their blogs!).

  10. sotty my rss feed has been down – did i miss something? πŸ™‚

  11. Clyde Smith Says:

    You’re so obsessed with death, charl. What’s up with that?

  12. Robert Bruce Says:

    “Being unable to cure death, misery, and ignorance, men have decided that in order to be happy, they must repress thinking about such things.”

    -Blaise Pascal

  13. range Says:

    Email will be used for some time. I have some IM, but they are rarely on. They just sit around in invisble mode most of the time. I just don’t want to talk to people. I got into IM when messenger appeared. I was using it a lot, but I found it extremely distracting. I worked from my computer, so I always checked who was online, checked some email. In the end, I just unsintalled all IMs. I have recently reinstalled some of them, but use them sparringly. Instant communication can be useful, check out the blackberry craze that started a few years ago, but its not always good to be on call 24/7.

    Sometimes, you just don’t want to be reached. It’s the old phone of the hook trick I learned.

  14. Erik Says:

    It’s an “apples/oranges” kind of thing.

    My company is virtual. I’m up on the Maine coast. Some people are in NYC. Some people are in California. We live on IM. I IM with my team hundreds of times a day. We have IM open as a private backchannel during conference calls with partners and investors.

    We also use eMail all the time. Product reviews. Competitive analysis. Task assignments. Anything that either needs a paper trail or the ability to archive and search goes via email.

    The business communication that IM has completely killed (at least in our case) is the telephone call between colleauges.

  15. Brian Says:

    Yep. Everyone I know hates the phone, including me. The funny thing is, sometimes I get so fed up with IM that I now pick up the phone instead!

    Our communication options continue to expand, but nothing dies. They said the same about radio after TV, etc. etc. etc.

  16. Clyde Smith Says:

    I think the idea of the death of email is one of those modernist progress notions that is now in a state of collapse. As Brian points out, rather than one form of media replacing another, multiple forms now coexist. And that goes for thiings like email as well.

    Obviously some are more dominant than others but they continue in different ways.

    Sometimes they become collectors items. For example, djs have kept vinyl alive and now increasingly affordable equipment exists to make short runs of record albums.

    By the way Roberty, even though I’ve been critiquing gun talk for years, you can’t be involved with hip hop without thinking and talking about death on a regular basis. In any case, no topic is beyond discussion for me, much to my parents’ chagrin!

  17. Clyde Smith Says:

    I meant Robert, sorry.

  18. farlane Says:

    Email is a silly way to communicate for routine conversation … so is IM. Voice apps and face-to-face VR will crush them soon enough.

    For communication that must be “reasoned out” (complex instructions, multiple parties with multiple instructions) email will remain a solid choice.

    I suppose IM / text messaging will have a place as well … classrooms??

  19. Clyde Smith Says:

    I’m holding out for psychic technologies to emerge in a more user friendly manner.

  20. Reynold Says:


    This is a penetrating insight. My generation used to play marbles when we were kids. Winners went home with pockets full of freshly won marbles. Today kids don’t play marbles – they play “beyblade’. Same concept, fresh modern packaging, improved user experience.

    Therefore, it isn’t surprising to read that kids don’t use e-mail. They will seek the most ubiquitous, instantaneous and direct form of communication possible. And if it shuts out the parents, so much the better (from their point of view).

    What would this mean in a country where Internet penetration is only 9.9% but there are already 41.26 million people with cellphones? Past experience is that we tend to “leapfrog” technologies in this country of a billion people. Therefore, I suspect that the mobile internet is going to be bigger, faster than even “Web 2.0”. Scott Cook says that to “savour surprises” is one of the ways to creating innovation. What innovations might spring from this surprise? I await the launch of cellular network-based communication devices designed for kids, among other interesting products and services.



  21. Jakob Nielsen said that email is hopelessly broken, and that was about 4 to 6 years ago that he made this prediction. I think he based it on spam clogging.

    The good thing about email is the ability to archive it, group it into files and conversations (Gmail), and print it out.

    I prefer email to telephone conversations. I want to have written documentation of all my communications. I print out all my blog posts, as I publish them.

    I hate talking on the phone. I have spoken on the phone to Buzz Bruggeman and Christopher Locke. That’s it as far as bloggers. But I email other bloggers all the time, and sometimes use Google Chat or Skype to communicate. I do not own a cell phone.

    I have used blog comment functions for an alternative email. I mean, if you wish to contact a blogger, the best way is via a comment, in many cases. I have posted a comment at a blog, then sent an email later, and this strategy almost always works.

    When I see kids staring at their cell phones and typing with their thumbs, it freaks me out. They look really weird doing that. It sickens me, because I know it’s just frivolity and peer pressure.

    When I was in high school my parents offered to get me my own phone for my birthday. Being a hermit recluse with only 3 friends, I declined and requested a slide rule instead.

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