Monday, July 03, 2006

Tech: Email is too slow and you’re too old

It’s often difficult to encourage older people (generally over-60s) to use computer technology. Some baulk at email, some go that far and no further. If communication is restricted to letters, correspondence becomes slow and sporadic. Well, welcome to the older generation yourself: email could be the new snail mail.

Teenagers are using instant messaging, SMS, and MySpace to communicate. The [San Jose, California] Mercury News reports that some teenagers check their email only once a week; others only have an email address because it’s required for MySpace registration. Email’s not an instantaneous medium, and you often don’t know when the recipient will read it (although implementing read receipts usually tells you when they’re read).

I’m all for better communication. But like many others, I’m rather swamped by technology, and only dip my toes when I have a specific need. Too much early adoption can lead to dead ends when critical mass is not reached. Maybe critical mass is there as soon as that technology becomes useful enough.

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