Bye Bye Email?
So I’ve been trying to make plans to visit two of my friends who live in Boston, MA. We’ve been discussing possible dates via Facebook messages because Facebook allows you to write and respond to more than one person at a time, with your conversation saved so you can see the history of what has been discussed (this is called a thread). Yesterday I received this email from one of the friends (my emphasis):
“Yo dudes. I can’t get on Facebook so I thought I’d use some older internet tech and actually email a person!”
Facebook was down for a couple of hours for maintenance. Which got me to thinking… my friend is right. Email is starting to become obsolete. I didn’t even think about the fact that when I initially wanted to ask my friends about visiting, I went to Facebook. I didn’t consider emailing them. It was an unconscious decision on my part. I just assumed that they would have access to their Facebook accounts sooner (and more frequently) than their email.
Then I started thinking about my own correspondence habits. I contribute to multiple blogs. I comment on my friends’ Facebook walls and message them. I text message as if my life depended on it. I very, very rarely email a friend. I use email chiefly for work, to deal with the administration & bursar at Syracuse University for my graduate courses, my NMRT mentor, and the occasional miscellaneous email to people in my life who aren’t very techno-savvy (i.e. my parents who don’t know how to subscribe to the RSS feed for my personal blog and who can receive but not send text messages). I know many people who use Twitter (micro-blogging) in a variety of different ways to communicate with friends and colleagues.
What does this mean for library users? What does this mean for library professionals? Is email going to go away? Are more immediate and public modes of communication taking precedence? Are students even using email anymore?