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In The US, Email Is Only For Old People

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the late-twenties-and-older-than-dirt dept.

Communications 383

lxw56 writes "Two years after Slashdot discussed the theory that Korean young people were rejecting email, an article at the Slate site written by Chad Lorenz comes to the same conclusion about the United States. 'Those of us older than 25 can't imagine a life without e-mail. For the Facebook generation, it's hard to imagine a life of only e-mail, much less a life before it. I can still remember the proud moment in 1996 when I sent my first e-mail from the college computer lab. It felt like sending a postcard from the future. I was getting a glimpse of how the Internet would change everything--nothing could be faster and easier than e-mail.'"

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Just the beginning (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394753)

Back in 1982 my folks walked into my room to watch a conversation with a friend of mine overseas as we typed into our Apple ][s back and forth on term. The glowing green letters popped up on a 200 baud connection or something like that a few characters at a time and you could absolutely talk faster which led my Dad to scoff and say "why don't you just pick up the phone?". I told him that is was not just words, but programs that we were sending back and forth and he just did not understand the implications to which his reply was "what does a 12 year old know?".

The funny thing was that at the time that *was* instant messaging, so while email has been around for quite a few years, we now have beautifully designed mobile phones [apple.com] , IM clients of many flavors, tweets [twitter.com] and all manner of both temporally immediate and time shifted communiques. It's been an amazing road to watch, but more impressive is that we are still only on the cusp of a much larger communication revolution that's been building for the last 20 years. When distributed networks become truly transparent and ubiquitous, we are going to see a future where todays Internet will look absolutely archaic.

Re:Just the beginning (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394849)

We were also using both instant messaging and email in the late 1970s. This was on teletypes connected to a mainframe. It was great as a social device, but it really took all our concentration. Due to the nature of the hardware and connection, we never had multiple processes working simultaneously, at least from the user's perspective.

Modern IM using asynchronous interruption (cell phones or separate clients) makes the current experience "different." I can choose to ignore my IM client much easier than I could when it was my only running application, synchronous in nature. The old client was much more like a conversation, one which you could end by disconnecting. Current clients are much more intrusive, and people expect more responsiveness out of you at all hours of the day.

Re:Just the beginning (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395001)

This was on teletypes connected to a mainframe.

Now that brings back memories.

My first experience with computer games was playing Empire and/or Star Trek on an ASR-33 teletype machine (hooked up to a CDC Cyber, I think). It amazed me that I could play these games in real-time and even talk with people in places as far away as Los Angeles or Berlin.

I shudder to think how much fan-fold paper we wasted...

Re:Just the beginning (3, Interesting)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395415)

IM programs and cell phones can be disconnected too, and I am beginning to use that feature more often. The problem I see is that others expect these things to be on all the time. Not much of a problem for a friend, but when your boss gets angry it becomes more troublesome. That was the reason I didn't get a cell phone until 2005.

Re:Just the beginning (5, Funny)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394871)

When distributed networks become truly transparent and ubiquitous, we are going to see a future where todays Internet will look absolutely archaic.

Not to rain on your parade, but doesn't the future tend to make most things look archaic? Isn't that kind of...the definition [reference.com] of archaic?

Re:Just the beginning (2, Insightful)

basic0 (182925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395021)

This is a little off-topic because it's more to do with hardware, but the OP's comment reminded me of a moment this week where it struck me how technology has progressed. A co-worker and I were trying to think up a use for an old G3 iMac we have, maybe turn it into an all-in-one Wii console, or a DVD jukebox with all 7 seasons of Star Trek TNG (yeah we're huge nerds). I thought to myself "Wow, not quite 10 years ago, this piece of junk that we're thinking of making a glorified toy out of, was one hell of a computer system." I remember when I used to dream of being able to afford a G3 iMac, with all that PowerPC horsepower and a whopping 128 MB of RAM, and here we were deciding whether to tear it apart to make some gadget with, or hock it for $50 on eBay.

I couldn't help think about my boss' new MacBook Pro. He got the 2.4 Ghz model with maxed RAM and all the upgrades. It must have cost him over $5000, but boy that thing screams. But 10 years from now, I imagine it'll be much like the G3 iMac is today. A crappy old relic that can't run anything at a decent speed and has very little resale value.

I think we who work in the IT field often take for granted the technological leaps and bounds that are made, and often times we don't think very far ahead. The G3 iMac was derided for not having a floppy drive. Sounds pretty ridiculous now, doesn't it? I love the little moments like that, where I think about the possibilities for the future, when teenagers are mocking us for still using IM software and someone reading an archive of this post says to themselves "$5000 for a MacBook Pro? That's hilarious!". (Yes, I realize there are some who would say that now, but you see the point I'm trying to make). That sense of wonder is why I, and probably many of you, got into IT in the first place.

The other side... (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395205)

I have recently been finding myself thinking almost the opposite. When I saw that for $150 I could buy a new motherboard and memory that would well over double the speed of my computer, double my memory, and bring my 3 generation old video card that runs everything I play just fine up to being just one generation behind the curve, all while cutting my electrical usage in half, I started looking at the machines around my house. I was amazed at how fast the new system was, but what amazed me more was that the Alienware PC I bought in 2000 (handed down to my son a few years ago) still runs everything I use adequately. Obviously if I am re-encoding a DVD, I would rather do it in literally 10th the time, and this machine is not a full decade old, but it is fully usable with current versions of software. I suspect that this has as much to do with the fact that new machines are not really fast enough to do anything truly revolutionary over the what we had in 2000, but it still amazes me that a 7 year old machine can be considered anything but a retro system.

This is why I have started to look more at power consumption than speed lately. I would plunk down money faster for an AthlonX2 2600+ that was fanless and used 20 watts than I would for an AthlonX2 5600+ that requires a fan and uses 50 watts.

Re:Just the beginning (4, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395211)

The G3 iMac was derided for not having a floppy drive. Sounds pretty ridiculous now, doesn't it?

The G3 iMac was derided for not having a _replacement_ for a floppy drive. Had apple shipped them with CD writers (not even CDRWs), there would have been no complaints. But at the time, it made getting information off an iMac difficult without buying more hardware - not an insignificant issue for a computer with a significant customer based expected to be in the education market (either schools or students).

Obligatory (2, Funny)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395419)

In 21st century America, grandma emails YOU!!!!

personal experience says no freaking way (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21394769)

who the hell did they interview? college students couldn't live without email.

Re:personal experience says no freaking way (2, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394933)

It says that the Facebook generation can't imagine a life of only email. It doesn't claim that email is entirely obsolete, just that it does not fulfill all of their communication needs.

Re:personal experience says no freaking way (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395319)

The Facebook generation? I'm twenty, and this must be the fifth generation label I've received in the last year or two (thank god that "myspace generation" didn't stick). More importantly, I think that notion is bullshit. I've been using computers since I was about three - today that doesn't mean much, but computers didn't have hard drives back when I started. Anyways, I've tried pretty much every form of computer-based communication in existence, and I always end up using email almost exclusively. It's portable, absolutely everyone has it (no worries of MSN vs AIM), and is completely free (unlike SMS/MMS, etc). Yes, the internal messaging on sites like Facebook is probably about as widespread among my friends that I've added, but that's only a relatively small subset of my contents - and in any case, we'll all be on some other site next year and Zuckerberg will be sobbing in a corner for not having taken the insanely huge offers when they were on the table.

Maybe it's because my computer history is very different than most people my age, or maybe because it's just logical that something as easy to use and as widespread as email isn't going to go away anytime soon, while other services have either come and gone or never caught on in the first place. Pretty much every internet-connected device can handle email plus one other protocol, but it's email rather than that one other protocol that's on EVERYTHING. Like so many other things, it's not really perfect for any one application (though if it had been encrypted from the start, I'd say otherwise; unfortunately, it's really too late to get encryption everywhere), but by and large it works well enough for just about anything.

Re:personal experience says no freaking way (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395383)

I, too feel that the notion of email playing a minor role in communication is BS. And I also resent the "SomeSocialNetworkingSite Generation" labels.

Spam ruined email (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394779)

Email has been ruined by spam. Either you don't give out your address, meaning that you cannot make wide use of it, or you get too much spam.

Re:Spam ruined email (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21394863)

Or, you use Gmail.

Re:Spam ruined email (2, Interesting)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395059)

I only have two things in my gmail inbox. Spam and messages from my web host (since my main email resides on their servers, if there's an outage, or something, it makes sense for them to have an alternate service address).

I never understood people who say they don't get spam on gmail. Since I don't use it except as a backup, I've never given my address to anyone save for my web host and yet, here is all this spam.

Re:Spam ruined email (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395115)

You do get some spam, but you get proportionally less. Compared to accounts on AOL or ISP-based mail, Gmail's filters are amazing. Without proper training, it probably won't beat a "roll your own" type of anti-spam on a mail server, but its better than most ISPs and better than a lot of EDU or business email spam filters.

Re:Spam ruined email (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395239)

My Gmail account is listed as the contact for my domain name. It is filled with spam.

If you publicly list your Gmail address, even it will be spammed.

What is there to understand? (2, Interesting)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395131)

I never understood people who say they don't get spam on gmail.
I never get spam on GMail. The whole time I've had it (2.5 years), it has put about four spams in my inbox, and thousands in my spam folder.

Do you mean, you don't understand why you get spam and nobody else does?

Re:Spam ruined email (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395157)

I hand my address out EVERYWHERE (fflaguna@gmail.com) and I almost never receive the bad, unsolicited spam in my gmail account that I would receive most other places. A couple months ago for a couple week timespan I started receiving spanish spam mails (most of these spanish ones were already blocked and I never saw them), but about five a week got through. I stopped receiving them after a couple of weeks, and now I'm back to receiving ZERO spam. I recently glanced through for false positives, and have only ever received more than a couple over the past year or so.

I have also been able to train gmail's spam filter to disallow non-spam mails that I don't want to receive ever again with about a week or two worth of training. The only unwanted emails I receive now are from Amazon and Apple, for the most part. I've been meaning to sign on to my Amazon and Apple accounts and disallow those emails, but I haven't bothered with that yet.

I never understand people who say "I DO receive spam with gmail, and that is the reason I use another email service."

Re:Spam ruined email (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395227)

I never understood people who say they don't get spam on gmail. Since I don't use it except as a backup, I've never given my address to anyone save for my web host and yet, here is all this spam.

In the gmail account I use for "signing up to things" - for everything from online forums to torrent sites - I see maybe two spam mails into the inbox a month, if that.

Re:Spam ruined email (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394885)

Email has been ruined by spam. Either you don't give out your address, meaning that you cannot make wide use of it, or you get too much spam.

You know, I have an e-mail address (billandkimroehl@gmail.com) listed on my website that gets about 12,000 visits a day and I wouldn't doubt if many of those harvest it for spam. While I get almost 0 spam (with blacklisting and SpamAssassin) on my main address (which I hadn't received a single spam to before a year ago) GMail handles the 19 or so spams I get to my website address w/o an issue. In addition to the website posting I also use that account for all the garbage sign ups on the web and yet I only get 19 a day at most.

Spam hasn't ruined e-mail as you have said, it's just that other technology works a fuckload better for most communication. For most of what I do I expect an immediate response and people treat e-mail like voicemail -- they check it frequently but not frequently enough. More modern technology solves that.

Re:Spam ruined email (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395231)

For most of what I do I expect an immediate response

This is why I feel ambivalent at best about supplanting email with IM/SMS/whatever else.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect everyone around me to respond immediately, and I don't appreciate it when other people expect that of me for no good reason. Email, as it has developed, is nice to use because the expected response time (usually within a few hours, unless there's clearly a reason it needs to be sooner) strikes a good balance between being able to get stuff done and allowing recipients a little bit of leeway over their schedules and priorities.

Is everything you need "for most of what you do," not just the occasional emergency, really so urgent that a response within a few hours is inadequate? If your answer is yes, I think either you are 1) planning badly, so you are too close to deadlines; 2) overestimating your own importance, or 3) an air or rail traffic controller.

Re:Spam ruined email (1)

hacker (14635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394947)

Either you don't give out your address, meaning that you cannot make wide use of it, or you get too much spam.

Or you install dspam [nuclearelephant.com] , and never have to worry about it again. I haven't seen a single spam in my Inbox IN OVER 3 YEARS now, nor have any of the users I host mail for.

Thousands of spam messages are blocked or quarantined every day, and I never see them, unless I decide to check the quarantine (which is web-based). I put graymilter [acme.com] in front of that, and the incoming malware connections on port 25 dropped [gnu-designs.com] significantly [gnu-designs.com] .

I have no problem sticking my public email addresses out anywhere, because I simply don't get spam anymore. Problem solved.

Spam ruined stomachs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395215)

Oh one can never have enough spam. When world war three comes, I'll have a couple cases in the bunker.

Re:Spam ruined email (3, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395343)

Wait until you have to abandon IM because of spam...

Re:Spam ruined email (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395377)

I find that's not at all true on gmail. I give my email out all the time. It's urza9814@gmail.com. I still get about one spam message a week, if that. And in the...oh wow, getting on 2 years? I didn't think it'd been that long...but anyways, in all that time, I've had one email misclassified as spam. Well, that I know of. lol.

social networks... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21394783)

Is it me, or are people who only use Social Networks for messaging people are merely using a more limited form of "email" (loosely speaking-- as a internally controlled messaging system).

Not more limited. (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395109)

One thing that I realized recently while talking to some younger kids, is that most of them have never used a real email client, just webmail. So while we geeks think of email as a standardized flexible protocol that can be used for all sorts of things given the right software, they just think of it as a website where you can leave messages for people.

Facebook is the same thing but with several simple but important improvements. The friends list acts as a mailing list of sorts, something that very few of the kids I have talked to know how to do with webmail. It also acts as a grey-list spam filter, limiting unsolicited messages to your request box where they are more easily ignored. There are features that act as the analog to outlooks meeting request, which is quite useful but you don't ever see used outside of work, I guess because of the implied formality of it.

I guess what it comes down to is that features are useless unless they are accessable, so your level of expertice will dictate whether email or social networks are the more limited of the two.

Re:social networks... (1)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395361)

They're not only using a "limited" form of email, but one with absolutely NO guarantee of privacy or security. They're channeling their communication through intermediary companies that glean and store information for advertising and feature-enhancements. These folks are in for a wake-up call when they start sending messages that actually have some importance or weight to them and don't feel comfortable with Mr. Facebook reading it.

DIfferent use cases (5, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394795)

IM is fine. IM is great. But IM only works when both are connected and both have time to reply. I prefer IM for short pings to people, quick exchanges or realtime issues. But email is much better for longer, more considered discussions, especially when the issues may take hours or days to figure out.

I would not use email to check if someone wants to catch lunch. And I would not use any kind of IM to discuss issues with the latest revision of a journal paper. As a guess, when you're 16 you have a lot of the former kinds of communication and very little of the latter. As you grow older the balance shifts. Both have their place.

Mod parent up. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394823)

So the kids us IM now. That means that email is DEAD!

Yeah, whatever. Look at what the kids are sending. Short, light messages. Anything more and they talk in person or talk on the phone. OMG! Just like the adults do!

And the funniest thing is that this article is from a guy who just discovered email in 1996.

IM is great for "lunch?" or "meet 4 pizza".

It's not very useful when you have to discuss Johnny's grades and why he is not turning in any assignments.

Re:DIfferent use cases (0)

hacker (14635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394989)

IM is fine. IM is great. But IM only works when both are connected and both have time to reply.

The antithesis to this for the current "gimme, gimme" IM generation, is that they treat email as IM. I hear this dozens of a times a month, where I'm on the phone with someone, they tell me they've sent me an email, and ask me if I received it yet.

No, because I get email once a day, and I prefer it that way, thanks. That email has a 5-day period to reach to me, before it gets dumped.

I don't really care to check my email 500 times a day. I prefer to get work done, and use email as a tool to achieve that goal.

Email is NOT IM, so please (to those who treat it as such), don't.

And lastly, I prefer my HTML on port 80, not port 25.

I strip out HTML from emails at the MTA anyway, so I don't see it. If there's some sort of valuable information conveyed in that HTML, then send me a link to a webpage, don't litter my Inbox with malware and other garbage.

Email is still king. I can use attachments... it is platform independent (which IM is most-definitely NOT), I can check it from hundreds of places, as well as my PDA, my laptop, an Internet kiosk, and so on.

Re:DIfferent use cases (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395395)

"The antithesis to this for the current "gimme, gimme" IM generation, is that they treat email as IM. I hear this dozens of a times a month, where I'm on the phone with someone, they tell me they've sent me an email, and ask me if I received it yet."

Oh I hate that so much. It's even worse when the e-mail is a one line thing asking a simple question (and it's not a matter of having a paper trail either). So irritating.

As for the article itself, being one of the leading edge of the facebook generation, this isn't all that surprising. I mean, even my school's been getting away from E-Mail and towards discussion boards and other means of communication. E-Mail is still useful, but my generation, and especially the group that's a couple of years younger than me, seems to prefer to use E-Mail only for semi-official communication (you don't IM your adviser, no matter how addicted to facebook you are) and use social sites for most other forms of communication.

This is actually a pretty good idea in my book (even though I don't use it). It cuts down on spam (it's harder to spam a profile than an E-Mail address) and offers features E-Mail doesn't have, and if you need something E-Mail can do you just fall back on it. I highly doubt the kids in this study are going to have the kind of problems people are predicting for them once they go to work, it's not like they're stupid. They merely have begun to use a more efficient form of communication, which offers more features they want, for their personal communication. Can you really fault them for that? I'm sure there was some kind of 'Telegrams are for Old People' or 'Talking in Person is for Old People' ordeal back when E-Mail and phones originated (just two random examples I thought of, no I don't think Bell invented the phone at the same time as E-Mail).

E-Mail is simply being relegated to the same role as Snail mail, and replaced by a superior communication method. I mean, do we talk about E-Mail addicts like they can't use snail mail? Preferring one protocol over another doesn't mean you can't use the other properly.

No biggie - they're young and will find out... (5, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394799)

Wait until they have to get a job....

IMing "OMG - did u c Larry - teh gay!" will only get you fired.

IM is useful in some contexts with some teams, but by and large, it's counterproductive.

And FACEBOOK at work? BWAHAHAHAAAA!!!

YOU ARE SO FIRED!!!!

You're in a meeting and some clown texts you with "OMG - did u c Larry - teh gay!" and you answer? YOU'RE FIRED.

Email is crucial in a business environment as it is not synchronistic - you don't have to engage, and there is no immediacy. That is important.

Jobs make all the difference - sitting around doing bong hits in your dorm is OK for facebook. But getting paid to do something is something else altogether.

RS

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394873)

Well, where I work we still have to send 'letters' for all formal stuff.

We are 'up with the play' though, as we're allowed to print out the letter, sign it, then scan it as a PDF and e-mail the scan.

I've never tried printing and scanning "OMG - did u c Larry -teh gay!", but will try it on Monday and see how it pans out.

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395083)

We are 'up with the play' though, as we're allowed to print out the letter, sign it, then scan it as a PDF and e-mail the scan.

If you're actually serious, why don't you just have an image of your signature you can paste into the document and then print directly to PDF? For that matter, 99% of PDF (or worse, DOC) attachments I get could just as easily, and a lot more conveniently for me, just be plain text emails, incidentally taking up just 1 kb in my mailbox instead of 1 MB.

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21394879)

Wait until they have to get a job....

IMing "OMG - did u c Larry - teh gay!" will only get you fired.
This reminds me why I use email. To tell those damn kids to stop IMing on my lawn and get a job!

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21394919)

Yep you will fired all right. Unless it's your boss IMing you about Larry - teh gay, in which case HIGH FIVE!

Hmm... not my experience (3, Interesting)

ylikone (589264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394921)

I was doing web development work from home (for the past 6 years actually) and I recently returned to full-time work in a small company and found that all these young people actually use IM ... all the time... even though they may be sitting in a cubicle next to the other person. Email is used to communicate with the clients but inner office is completely IM. I find it strange but I am getting used to it. Times seem to have changed.

They use MSN at my work actually. (5, Interesting)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394973)

It's the best way for people on the other side of the office to talk to each other. We also have dedicated chat clients for use with talking to specific people (namely those with some authority) for more official work. And the conversations tend to be a fair sight more professional than in person stuff, thanks to the records that such tools create,

You're projecting too much the attitude people bring to the tools, which have nothing to do with the tools themselves.

Re:They use MSN at my work actually. (1)

Nextraztus (1084719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395125)

Well, adding SMS/IM capability to Exchange is inexpensive and practical for many work environments. On the network I'm in charge of, we could probably eliminate 50% of our emails if we had SMS.

Re:They use MSN at my work actually. (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395295)

I have to admit it sort of puzzles me.
Most places I've worked were Exchange environments; when you logged in in the morning you turned on outlook or Mozilla app suite or pine or whatever, and when someone sends you a e-mail you get an Immediate Notification that you have a message.
Sure, if you are working with a dodgey mail server or are severely bandwidth crippled IM might make more sense, but how often is that the case?
strange.

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395171)

Not if you work for facebook. :P

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395189)

>> YOU ARE SO FIRED!!!!

That's the corollary to:
GET OFF MY LAWN!!! Damn kids and their new fandangled im things. ::grumble grumble::

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395281)

Wait until they have to get a job....
IMing "OMG - did u c Larry - teh gay!" will only get you fired.

Have you ever actually IMed at work? It can be very, very useful. More convenient than interrupting the workflow to use the phone, and many of us can type far faster than we can speak. You *can* use the protocol to say things professionally.

billl: are you turning in your tps report today?
peter: yes. give me 30 mins
billl: good. that's terrific, ok?
billl: oh, make sure to put a cover page
peter: ok

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (1)

Tiger Smile (78220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395347)

Holey crap! This is the old geek version of "Get off my lawn!"

Re:No biggie - they're young and will find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395417)

Wow, dude. Give it a break. Yes, speaking about "the gays" is probably a fireable offense, but IM and Facebook? Wake up. The workforce of the not-too-distant future will be built on new, open, and efficient means of communication. If IM and Facebook get the job done, then all the better. Firing people for such a thing will render you irrelevant very quickly.

E-mail not for old people in Canada (1)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394805)

I'm only 18, I just graduated high school and I'm going into college next year. I have a friend that I like to keep in touch with, but she won't use IM or social networking sites, and I can't always know when she's available to call. Because of this, e-mail's the most reliable way to stay in touch.

Re:E-mail not for old people in Canada (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395077)

I wonder if text messaging was considered as one of the non-email communication methods. That is probably the most reliable and quickest way to send anybody under 30 a message. It's kind of handy, sort of like a poor-man's BlackBerry.

Personally, I am a graduate student and 22 and I prefer e-mail to any other form of communication. IM is okay, but it's pretty much a typed phone call- you both have to be at the computer at the same time and have the time to type. And Facebook? If somebody puts a message on Facebook, how do I know? Yup, that's right- I get a notification e-mail. Why not send me that e-mail yourself and save the trouble of going through Facebook?

Can only hold a thought for 40 seconds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21394811)

I guess thats because kids can only hold a thought for 40 seconds. BEEEEEUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZWHOOOMMP

Re:Can only hold a thought for 40 seconds (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395103)

I guess thats because kids can only hold a thought for 40 seconds. BEEEEEUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZWHOOOMMP

Yes, and they spend about 38 of those seconds thinking about sex, which doesn't leave much time for communication.

Re:Can only hold a thought for 40 seconds (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395337)

This from a guy who calls himself "screwmaster" :)

What has changed in the last 30 years? (5, Insightful)

wayne (1579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394813)

In the 1970's, I used a the CDC PLATO system, which looked more like the modern internet than the internet in the 1970's looked like the modern internet. It had instant messaging (term-talk), email (pnotes), forums (notes, later to evolve into lotus notes), and chatrooms (0chat). No one talked about one replacing the other because they were all good for different things.

In the early 1980's, I used IBM's CMS system. It had instant messaging (#cp msg) and email, but sadly, no forums nor chat rooms. People talked about needing the later two.

In the mid 1980s to the early 1990's, I used unix. It had IM, email, forums and chat rooms.

Since the early 1990s', I've used unix on the internet. It has IM, email, forums and chat rooms.

Now, in the 2000's, people claim that IM will kill email? Huh? I don't see it. Did these people never have IM before?

Re:What has changed in the last 30 years? (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394991)

Did these people never have IM before?


Define "these people". If you mean everyone who didn't use CDC PLATO, IBM CMS or Unix in the 1980s, then it's a fairly huge number. "These people" never used IM (at least, not to the extent that they could consider it a primary means of communication).

What us computer geeks fail to realize is that technology doesn't become mainstream when we start using it -- it becomes mainstream when it reaches critical mass. Today, teenagers are growing up with social networks and, to them, messaging through MySpace/Facebook makes a lot more sense than emailing. Since they're the majority (at least over computer geeks), they're going to control the direction internet communication heads.

Re:What has changed in the last 30 years? (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395151)

Well what they call "IM" isn't really IM anymore, the way you divide it. With offline messages you pretty much have email, except you can't send attachments if the recipient isn't online though there's no reason that couldn't be implemented too. Group chats replace all the ad hoc chatrooms, though there's still room for forums. All in one place with whitelisting, blacklisting, status notifications, smileys, integrations with webcams and so on and so forth. People still send "email", they just don't use email the protocol.

Re:What has changed in the last 30 years? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395371)

In the 1970's, I used a the CDC PLATO system, which looked more like the modern internet than the internet in the 1970's looked like the modern internet.

They would look even closer if the modern internet had PLATO's cool orange plasma displays. (IIRC, the graphics memory bits were implemented using the hysteresis of the neon grid discharges themselves.)

It's kind of odd how before there were things like Flash ads to gum up the works, hundreds of people could simultaneously share a single ~10 mips machine with a few kilobytes of iron core memory and get a halfway decent web-like experience.

The real world (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394815)

And then there are those of us in the real world that realize that IM, social sites, and e-mail can (and do) all work together in our everyday lives.

Re:The real world (1)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394975)

The stream of "APPLE IS DOOOOMED!!1" stories showed us that proclaiming the death of something makes for easy writing and easy page views. Reality is more mundane; people will continue using a mix of all three, as you said, for years to come.

Did you know that the hardcover book faces imminent doom [guardian.co.uk] as well? :P

Email reshaped the company world (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394819)

At least as much as overnight delivery did.

Overnight had a huge impact on the industry. Until overnight was an issue, we were used to having a few days of waiting time between ordering and receiving. With overnight, JIT manufacturing turned from something that required often a lot of logistics and planning to a fairly trivial task.

The advent of email had the same impact for offices. It suddenly became trivial to send documents instantly. Not only as a printed copy with fax machines, which were impossible to edit and to process further sensibly, but now you had a working and workable copy at your hands. Instantly.

So it's quite logic that the 30+ generation, i.e. office people, often in elevated positions, view email as a vital part of their life. It became trivial to send a copy to your boss, send a copy home or work from home and send the result to your office.

Yes, that's not what mail is for. I personally get ruffled the wrong way when I see people generate insane overhead by latching binaries to mails instead of using sensible ways of transfer (like uploading to some server and sending the FTP link via mail), but that's how mail is being used.

So I guess the reason why mail is so popular with "the old" (read: people aged 30+) is less that it's a communication tool for sending messages. It's being used as a tool to transfer data of various kinds. From wordprocessor documents to spreadsheets to binaries. I think people value the fact that they can link attachments to their mails higher than the fact that they can exchange simple text.

Re:Email reshaped the company world (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394965)

Yes, that's not what mail is for. I personally get ruffled the wrong way when I see people generate insane overhead by latching binaries to mails instead of using sensible ways of transfer (like uploading to some server and sending the FTP link via mail), but that's how mail is being used.

I realize you're probably a nerd due to the fact that you're post on Slashdot but the vast majority of people who use e-mail in the corporate world cannot put anything on a FTP server, webserver, or anywhere else. That type of shit is for the IT department and I hope that they honestly have better things to do than place some lame Excel spreadsheet used like a database up so that three people can access the data contained in it once.

I have access to a webserver, FTP server, whatever and you know what? I still send attachments because it makes more sense for 99% of what I (and everyone else) attaches.

Re:Email reshaped the company world (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395271)

That is only because they haven't been trained in it. I know many companies where the non-technical staff use FTP all the time for file transfer between businesses. Heck, some of the departments that deal in sensitive informative actually use GPG4Win (friendly instructions for other companies posted in an non-threatening sounding file, such as "Internet Safety".) You cap their attachment sizes and they are forced to send an email with a link instead.

However... Yes, sometimes attaching files to an email DOES make sense.

Re:Email reshaped the company world (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395099)

Can you explain why it's better to open a separate program, perform a connection, wait for a file to upload, generate a URL, paste it into an e-mail, send it, wait until you're sure the recipient has downloaded it, open the separate program again, perform a connection again, find the file on the server, and delete it?

And don't give me BS about mail server or network overload. I've never seen it happen. If it's happening on your network, increase your capacity. Mail attachments are quite simply a better user experience, hands down. Just because they are slightly technically inferior doesn't mean you should get upset at people for using them. It means you should try to make it work better technically to accommodate your users.

Re:Email reshaped the company world (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395185)

Umm... 'cause it's easy to automatize? I honestly wonder why nobody bothered to write an Outlook plugin for that.

Talking about it, I don't have any plans for Sunday anyway...

Re:Email reshaped the company world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395243)

The trouble is that, while you can automate much of the process, there are significant problems as well.

One thing you can't automate is actually obtaining the appropriate server space. For someone in a corporate environment, this can be taken care of by IT, but for a home user they're not likely to have a good place to put files. You could provide some free storage along with your plugin, but that gets costly fast.

Another thing that's hard to automate is knowing when it's safe to delete the files. You can approximate it by having a quota on the server, and deleting things in FIFO order when you hit the quota, but this will either be wasteful or dangerous, and possibly both. You can do it by having the client also use your plugin which performs the download and signals the server to delete the file, but this would be susceptible to faking, and of course requires that both ends have the software.

And in the end you're basically just recreating part of the mail system anyway, except with less reliability and more complexity. So what's the point?

Re:Email reshaped the company world (1)

thpr (786837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395237)

"I personally get ruffled the wrong way when I see people generate insane overhead by latching binaries to mails instead of using sensible ways of transfer (like uploading to some server and sending the FTP link via mail), but that's how mail is being used."

This is all a matter of perspective and context. There are places where what you describe is probably an appropriate response, but not where I work ... When the development or operations groups point me to their file server or other on-line system, it causes our organization to fail. The problem is that a good portion of the time, I'm trying to look at something on a plane, or in a car (someone else driving!), or somewhere I *don't* have a connection to the 'net. Therefore, the lack of an attachment actually delays my response. Those folks quickly learn to send attachments if they want a timely response.

"It's being used as a tool to transfer data of various kinds"

Absolutely! Being able to transfer data as attachments to e-mail is exactly what keeps us going in an era when ones working group is sporadically connected and is spread across 11 countries and 14 time zones.

Re:Email reshaped the company world (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395245)

Yes, that's not what mail is for. I personally get ruffled the wrong way when I see people generate insane overhead by latching binaries to mails instead of using sensible ways of transfer (like uploading to some server and sending the FTP link via mail), but that's how mail is being used.

This is not a sensible way of transferring files and their associated metadata (which is the important part). It requires additional resources (in the shape of a functioning FTP or webserver), access to said server by the sender (plus software to facilitate transferring the date to it), an understanding of the concept by both parties and, finally, makes it difficult to the receiver to be reasonably sure the file and its reference (the email) will always be together (anyone who has ever come back to an email with an outdated HTTP link in it should understand this).

The *reason* everyone uses email for file transfers, is because the other methods suck. If you want people to stop using email as a binary filing cabinet, come up with an easier way for them to do it.

Stupid... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394827)

Email is just one of many tools we use to communicate, email is not just "for old people", obviously these kids have very little experience with interacting with anyone but their own culture or within their own little world.

IM, facebook, email, etc... I expect to become more and more integrated over time, until it is a centralized unified communication center. All of them have their place until something comes along that will replace it.

Re:Stupid... (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395233)

obviously these kids have very little experience with interacting with anyone but their own culture or within their own little world.

How is that different from kids anywhere, ever?

If email is dead... (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394853)

then I shudder to think how old people using snail mail must be.

Re:If email is dead... (5, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394897)

My mother still writes letters... she's 63.

Funny story. She does use e-mail as well, and was one day complaining to my (now late) father that she was getting too much 'junk mail'.

His answer: "well just print the bloody stuff out and throw it in the trash!"

Tools (1)

skribe (26534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394855)

Email, IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc are just tools. The important thing is having a choice of tools to meet your needs.

Re:Tools (0)

coppro (1143801) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394889)

I use email. I am 15. I am Canadian, which is eerily similar to American. I hate social networking sites. I view email as a reliable, personal method of communication that has no equivalent. I cannot imagine having use something like Facebook for my stuff... I love things were almost all my work is on the keyboard - the mouse is the biggest waste of time ever conceived, because it's not a discreet, learnable piece of information...

Re:Tools (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395331)

It depends on where your talents lie. In my view the mouse is a more cognitive input device. It is fluid and flexible where the keyboard is solid and rigid. A set pattern that you can commit to memory is useful for some actions, but I find the adaptable input of the mouse to be equally important for others.

I honestly have trouble managing all the buttons of a keyboard without looking at them, and I am trying hard to overcome this, but I understood the mouse as soon as I touched it.

Come to think of it, this may explain my bias toward the Wii.

Damn, I'm old. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21394865)

My first email was sent through Fidonet. The always connected "Internet" was unaffordable back then.

Instant messaging (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394925)

That's like IRC, right? I'm always amused to see articles by journalists who know nothing about the history of technology... yeah, this generation invented 'instant messaging' and information sharing, in the bad old days we only had email, or, if we were lucky, tin cans and bits of string.

Personally I think there's another more important division growing up; between those who are available to be instantly pestered by anyone and those who aren't. I love email because it just sits there until I respond to it, I have more important things to do with my time than deal with any old crap people choose to send me at any moment. I suspect that as these kids grow up, they'll start to understand the benefits of not being accessible 'instantly'... particularly if they're forced to be on call 24 hours a day at work.

Meh. (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394927)

Give me e-mail over social networks (which is essentially just limited e-mail) and lame text messaging any day!

Forums, however, do have their time and place!

Kids (2, Funny)

Matt867 (1184557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394941)

Them damned whippersnappers and their fancy "Instant Messengers" They are up to no good I tells ye, no good at all!

Privacy is for old people (5, Funny)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394967)

I prefer to communicate with friends via a system that has absolutely no assumption or chance of privacy, and where I can see ads that are actually supposed to be there. Thank you, MySpace, Facebook, and others, for convincing kids that all the stupid crap they say should be owned and data-mined by corporations. In the meantime, I think I'll go login to my Gmail account so I can write to Daddy. I know I can trust good old Google. They put funny logos up for holidays!

Re:Privacy is for old people (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395201)

I agree. Like with so many things, convenience makes people blind to the dangers. Complacency breeds carelessness. Unfortunately the people responsible for protecting the sheeple (i.e. politicians, yes, it's true!) are actually working against them and instead of promoting privacy (e.g. private encryption methods) they openly oppose them in the name of national security.

Laurel and Hardy (1)

BanjoBob (686644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394995)

I need Laurel (E-mail) and Hardy (Usenet) to keep in touch but my PUP net only runs at 3 Mbit/sec. Lets see, where did alt.sci.physics.spam go?

What? Me Old?!?!? ;-}

It's another way to screen people out (3, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21394999)

First had phones. And God created the answering machine and voice mail and said it was good. And hence forth all people would not answer the phone and would not return calls. Then there was the email and people worshipped it verily. Till the spammers gushed from satan's bowels. And low did the email fall. 85 percent did go to the bitbucket unopened. And in the corporation (blessed be he) email distribution lists issued forth like a plague of locusts and verily didst thou receiveth the same email with the same 9MB attachment with a header that speaketh "Me Too!" 40 times.

So there beget the IM which permitteth thou to put DNC flags and "I'm not here" status lines. Behold it was a wonder. Till the day when thine fellows ignored the status line and sent messages forth, no matter. But the upper middle managers didst avoid this plague with their Blackberries - sending forth SMS and emails 'from the car'. And God saw what he had created and was overflowing with wrath.

So much more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395003)

I used to email alot, but now a days i only e-mail people when its a really specific case. I guess it has reverted back to the same amount people used snail mail. Also, younger people have a tendency to use community sites where they stay in contact. Send each other short messages, read each others presentations and stay updated about their friends that way. Sms and cell phone calls get cheap too. I call my girlfriend who studies in italy, from sweden, every day. It costs ~0.018 euro per minute(From skype). For that price we can speak for as long as we wanna.

The world shrinks, all non dialog means of communications are bound to be left behind... mono is out

Facebook Gener...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395011)

Is the utility of Facebook really so unique and ubiquitous to merit it's own generation, aka Generation X? Let's not get so carried away so fast. Social networking websites are "hot" right now for their minor exhibitorial [sic] low-maintenance spin on social networking. Sorry maybe I'm dating myself, but I think that e-mail (IMs are more immediate, but basically the same) was and still IS the killer app of the internet.

In business, e-mail only recently feels as if it has broken into the area of reliable communication, though it is unfortunately still possible to get away with "oh I didn't receive that e-mail...server this, spam filter that, ...delete button DOH!". I have a feeling that if you're sending out wedding invitations, you still use snail-mail and not just for tradition. The immature likes of Facebook still have a way to go until they are even sidenotes in the historical book of human technological feats.

Perhaps I'm alone in this but social-networking of any substance still has to occur face-to-face, social-networking websites are a novel way of making the masses feel part of the social-elite class if only for advertising dollars. It still remains that there is only so much resolve in the common man, there will always be more pawns than kings or queens.

I think google disagrees (1)

mojosmackwit (1119183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395027)

Being that they just about doubled my account space to 5000 MB.

Mmph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395055)

Yeah, I personally think that IRC trumps all other forms of online communication. But that's just my opinion. But MySpace > Facebook.

not out of college and already old? (1)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395067)

My college, just like every other organization, runs on email. Yes, we use Facebook messages and IM to communicate, too. But the vast majority of our communication related to school is via email. If a group is advertising an event via Facebook, they'll post the message there and send out an email to their listserv as well. Facebook, sms, and IM are useful in personal communication but there is something more official about an email that I don't think will make it "lose out" any time soon to those alternatives. That, and you can't download your wall posts with an external program or without internet access (a problem especially at a school that encourages international travel so much).

I've seen the shift to Facebook as of late (4, Interesting)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395079)

I've seen the shift of a lot of non-serious non-real-time discussions to sites such as Facebook. I find this rather irritating because I only get a notification email in my regular Inbox informing me to go check Facebook instead of the message itself. I also can't archive and refer to old messages which may have event information, phone numbers, etc. due to the lack of advanced features on those sites. I understand this method of logging in generates ad revenue for the site, but when I'm on the road I'd like to respond via push-email in my down-time instead of having to find a public wifi access point.

Although I'm sure this will violate Facebook's TOS in some way, an existing project like FreePOPS [freepops.org] or a server-side daemon could be modified to fetch messages in my Facebook and Myspace inboxes and move them to my regular email account. Then they could be pushed to my phone and archived in my local email application.

Facebook needs to consider allowing POP/IMAP access to the inbox and only allow messages to be sent to other Facebook members via the same method. Facebook already forces verification of accounts via college email addresses or via mobile phone text messages which helps cut down spam and viruses. This allows a very large white-list of sorts with a global address book. With more businesses becoming present in the Facebook world, legitimate corporate advertising could be allow/blocked simply by altering account privacy settings. I see it as a win-win for Facebook.

Re:I've seen the shift to Facebook as of late (2, Insightful)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395257)

I've seen it too when I try to communicate with younger people (i'm in my mid 20's). I use facebook to write messages that I know will hang around for awhile, like "Happy Birthday!" or "congratulations on ________!" When facebook started, that's all you saw.

Now I see stuff like "hey pizza l8r?" or "wanna meet for that group project?" I wanna crack my head on a wall. No one over a certain age lives on facebook, and no one under that age realizes this. Note to the younger generation: if its time sensitive, your *absolute last* place to leave the message is a social networking site.

Re:I've seen the shift to Facebook as of late (1)

at.drinian (1180281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395403)

Facebook needs to consider allowing POP/IMAP access to the inbox and only allow messages to be sent to other Facebook members via the same method. Wouldn't that just make them a webmail provider, with stupid restrictions about sending?

Actually, that would be interesting, since right now I believe the only requirement for registering on Facebook is an email address.

I think that once they get into the corporate world, these kids will acclimate to email pretty quickly. Interoperability, groupware, attachments, ease of archiving, speed -- these are all important when you're dealing with different companies. Not to mention confidentiality. And I can't seriously believe that email will stop being used for purchase confirmations, online bank statements, etc. any time soon. Doesn't bode well for mass adoption of interoperable standards or non-monopolistic services, though.

The problem is, I'm 23, and I don't understand why people use Facebook for messages at all. They all have email! It does the same thing, only faster and more reliably, with a better interface! Get off my lawn!

IM sucks (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395087)

More like, "IM is for kids with unlimited time", rather than email is for old people. For awhile, I used IM a lot, then I figured out what an incredible time sink it was. I changed my account and gave it only to a few select people, and even then it's only used when someone wants to ask me a quick question or give me a "come here a second".

I suspect that rather than be some generational thing that only the new generation "gets it", it'll be abandoned by that same generation once they grow up and get real lives.

Re:IM sucks (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395373)

It's worse - IM is for people who have nothing better to do than be interrupted all the time. My former boss used to love IMing us, probably because the immediacy of the communication mechanism appealed to his ego. Unfortunately, anyone involved in getting work done was subject to a crapflood of interruptions. IM was great for him, but ultimately made everyone else unproductive. My IM client "crashed" long ago, and it crashed so hard it appears to have blown the executable bits right off the hard drive ... been that way for about four years now. Anyone in the engineering or scientific workplace knows how valuable large, uninterrupted blocks of time are. A constant stream of inane interruptions (IM or head-in-the-cubicle types) destroys your ability to concentrate on your tasks.

Because (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395137)


I just feel like playing "one up" with the submitter. I sent my first email in 1986...

These kids today, sheesh :)

They aren't sitting at computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395161)

People communicate in the way that is most convenient for them. Most teenagers and college students aren't sitting at computers all day. Therefore email and even instant messaging is only available to them when they get a chance to sit down at a computer. However, text messaging via their cell phone is always available and therefore is usually the most convenient form of communicating for them. However, as soon as you get a desk job (as most of the 25+ crowd has), pulling out a cell phone and typing out a text message is ridiculous. Why would you do that when you have a computer sitting right in front of you. Then email and IM are far more convenient.

How about IM in 1967 for old-fart bragging rights (1)

wrwetzel (543389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395203)

I remember "talk tty3" on a (probably unnamed) timesharing operating system running on a DEC PDP-6 in 1967. That set up a one-to-one conversation with the person at a specific TTY (teletypewriter) that could be local or remote via modem. It was the '60's equivalent of current chats such as IM.

In the US, Email is only for People With Jobs (4, Insightful)

4minus0 (325645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395225)

there fixed that for you.

In 1992... (-1, Offtopic)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395283)

In 1992 I had an account on a Sun cluster, with e-mail and USENET. The PCs were still running DOS. The Suns were running some *NIX variant (Solaris, I assume, although at the time I just assumed it was Unix). The Suns were all slick and graphical. I could read USENET in one Window while waiting for a simulation to finish, and if I needed to find stuff there was this really cool thing called Gopher.

The PCs were the first thing to get this thing called the World Wide Web, but the only way to access it was with a terminal based browser. This sucked, I thought. Gopher is so much better; but my opinion was colored by the fact that the OS on the machines where Gopher was installed was better.

Across the grounds there was a lab that had one of these machines that ran a windowed OS for PCs. It was written by the same people who wrote the DOS for the PCs. DOS worked fine, so I thought I'd check out this new MS Windows and see how it stacked up to X. Boy, I never really tried it, because the machine spent at least 5 minutes booting. I lost patience and walked away before it finished. Apparently, they had installed it on an underpowered machine, to say the least.

I briefly owned a DOS PC, and then, believe it or not, dropped out of tech for a while. When I decided to get back into programming, the beige box I got came with Windows95. I was impressed at what they had done; IMHO, they surpassed X in terms of useability as a desktop with that version of Windows. I warmed up to the WWW, thanks to the free beta of Netscape v0.96 that came from the ISP I signed up with.

In just a few short years, my favored desktop went from X on a Sun to Windows95 on a PC, and I haven't seen anything yet that would really make me want to run *NIX on a desktop.

E-mail, OTOH, has endured through all of it.

I was ALREADY ignoring University E-Mails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21395329)

I was ALREADY ignoring my University E-Mail in the 1990s. This is not a new thing. The president of the U discovered E-Mail... The first E-mails were about the universities budget crunch. Which, really, wasn't relevent to me but I can see them mailing out (I'm already paying my tuition, I'm not about to pay more...) Then the floodgates opened... "The bisexual asian studies department is having a picnic on Saturday". 4 or 5 e-mails a week, ALL about stupid cultural diversity fairs and the like.. I just sent 'em straight to the junkmail without reading them eventually. My professor's Emails I read.

          The article is of course wrong -- E-Mail is not dead or dying. However, these all serve different purposes. E-Mail is more official and formal, and for stuff you want to have on record. Voice call is for of course when you need immediate interaction and response. I'd say IM and text are in between -- it's not like a voice call where you expect the other person to respond right this second when you say something (well, if you're in midconversation maybe, but not otherwise). I have used YTalk and still do on occasion, and would say it was VERY similar to IM -- the difference being you could watch the other person type character-by-character instead of the whole sentence showing up at once. Similar to IM, having some large lull even mid-convsersation just wasn't a big deal with ytalk (from one or the other party being busy.)

In the US email is only for SPAM (0, Flamebait)

Tiger Smile (78220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395339)

That's about it. People who use email are foolish. It's been taken over greatly by spam. Of all the great ways to remove SPAM I've seen posted anywhere in the world, not using email is the smartest. Anything else keeps the spammers happy to keep trying.

Typical Gen Y commercialism (1)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395387)

I am not surprised, Gen Y seems pretty stupid when it comes to picking trends. By only using Facebook or My Space they are limiting themselves to only communicating with people on these services. Also this story is a repeat.
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