Friday, January 30, 2009

Teenagers and Email

This report only confirms what we've already known, but skew away from email and to IM and texting is even greater for the narrow 12-17 age group. I really find myself using text messaging, IM, Facebook and Twitter quite a bit, but still heavily reliant on email. I think the key to getting a digital immigrant like myself using these "new" tools is making them easy to access and to use. For example, texting with the iPhone is as simple as it can get and the bulit in chat in gmail make chat a quick and easy way to communicate with someone.
Grown Up Digital » Teenagers use email less than any other age group
One of my favorite quotations in Grown Up Digital is the teenager explaining that he preferred to use some form of instant messaging rather than e-mail. He explained that e-mail was a more formal technology and is what he would use if he had to send a thank you note to a friend’s mother.

So I’m not surprised that a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that teens ages 12-17 use instant messaging more than any other age group. Fully 68 percent of this age group send instant messages, and youth 18-32 are just a bit lower at 59 percent. But after that the numbers plummet with increased age. Only 23 percent of older boomers age 55-63 used instant messaging.

“Teens really gravitate to these instant forms of communication,” according to a Pew research assistant quoted in Adweek. “They’re not likely to be sitting around waiting for e-mail.”

Only 73 percent of the 12-17 group uses email, which is a large drop from the 89 percent recorded in 2005. It is also the lowest use of any age group sampled.

When I say “Net Generation” I’m referring to those born between the years 1977 to 1997. That means young people ages 12-32. But the Pew study broke this age group into two groups: 12-17 and 18-32. In a couple of cases the difference between the two groups is significant. While 78 percent of the 12-17 group play games online, this number drops to 50 percent for those 18-32. But 72 percent of adults 18-32 watch videos online, while the number drops to 57 percent for 12-17. Otherwise the numbers are fairly similar for activities such as using social networking or downloading music.

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