PLEDGE NOW
Letters, E-Mail, Texts — What’s Next?

Letters are dead. E-mail outdated. Text messages so passé. What’s going on with how we communicate?

Texting (Steve Rhodes/Flickr)

(Steve Rhodes/Flickr)

Guests

David Gerzof, professor of media relations, social media and marketing at Emerson College. Founder and president of BIGfish, an integrated social media, PR, marketing, and social influence firm. (@davidgerzof)

Pete Pachal, tech editor at Mashable.com. (@petepachal)

Alex Hermacinski, 15-year-old freshman at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts. (@herma_crab)

Is Email As We Know It Dead?

Email use is declining as more users adopt social media platforms and real-time mobile-chat applications, according to our conversation on Wednesday.

The shift from email to newer forms of communication is the result of a consumer trend favoring real-time communication methods offered by applications like Twitter, SMS text messaging, WhatsApp and Kik.

“You see things like email — and even Facebook to some extent in terms of how it’s evolved — looking more like it’s five minutes ago, it’s 10 minutes ago,” Mashable tech editor Pete Pachal said in the interview with Tom Ashbrook. “It’s not what a lot of people demand in their communication all the time, and so they’re turning to these other, more specialized apps that serve that very specific need to communicate with people in real-time.”

Some mobile apps also lower the bar to activate and engage in conversation. Snapchat, a real-time photo-sharing app that self-destructs a message within seconds of it being received, enables a user to open and send a photo with a few simple hand gestures. The time between thought and message is reduced.

“I think mobile and instantaneous go hand in hand,” David Gerzof, professor of media relations at Boston’s Emerson College, said in the same interview with Ashbrook. “And when you’re thinking about email it does take a while to send and receive.”

The decline in email use also has economic roots. Many applications being used instead of email are free to download. The only cost the user incurs is measured in the form of data, which costs much less than the $0.20-per-text message some carriers charge.

“It’s really one of those things that’s a bit overpriced,” Pachal said. “If you look at what it actually costs the carriers to use and to implement SMS on their networks, it’s much less than what you’re actually paying for. And that’s a huge factor.”

But email isn’t the only platform to suffer. With the rise of mobile and chat-based apps, some young people have even abandoned Facebook, opting to use it only in certain cases.

Alex Hermacinski, a 15-year-old freshman at Wellesley High School, is one of those people. She joined On Point’s conversation and explained how she uses the platform:

I really only use Facebook for study groups. Say there’s 90 kids in my grade that have the same teacher — we’re all in one group so we can communicate, ask questions, and maybe share study guides.

That the next generation is leap-frogging some platforms may not be surprising; that often happens as new technologies are introduced and improved upon. But from a business perspective, the speed at which these platforms are being replaced is remarkable, Gerzoff said.

Perhaps the Facebook-Android event expected on Thursday will lend some additional insight into what the platform will do to address the emerging real-time communication trend.

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 29, 2015
Residents are evacuated by members of the Houston Fire Department from floodwaters surrounding their homes in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP)

Texas floods. Soccer scandal. Nebraska outlaws the death penalty. Identity theft at the IRS. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 29, 2015
In this March 24, 2002 file photo, John Nash, left, and his wife Alicia, arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind,” died in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey on Saturday, May 23, 2015, police said. (AP)

Remembering a beautiful mind: Nobel –prize winning game theorist John Nash . We’ll look at his game theory. His schizophrenia. His genius.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 29, 2015
In this March 24, 2002 file photo, John Nash, left, and his wife Alicia, arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind,” died in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey on Saturday, May 23, 2015, police said. (AP)

Remembering a beautiful mind: Nobel –prize winning game theorist John Nash . We’ll look at his game theory. His schizophrenia. His genius.

 
May 29, 2015
Residents are evacuated by members of the Houston Fire Department from floodwaters surrounding their homes in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP)

Texas floods. Soccer scandal. Nebraska outlaws the death penalty. Identity theft at the IRS. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: May 30, 2015
Friday, May 29, 2015

FIFAs gotta FIF, and other highlights from the soccer-filled week of news. Plus, we discuss how none of you really seemed all that concerned about a last-minute topic change.

More »
2 Comments
 
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
2 Comments