Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How many 14 year olds use email?

The deathknell for email has been rung loud and long by the likes of JP Rangaswami. But we (and I count myself among those who have long said farewell to their teenage years) continue to use it.
Who could do without it, we ask?

I spoke at Informa's Mobile Internet Portal Strategies in London today. Chairman Dr Ian Wood reminded us that there were very senior analysts who, not so long ago, had questioned whether or not mobile phones would ever take off - because there were big red telephone boxes at the end of most UK streets.

It's very easy to stick to what we know, and make predictions about the future based on it.

Which brings me to those 14 year olds. I met with Conor Mc Kenna from Taptu today. Forgive me if I confuse the detail, Conor, (and by all means correct me) but the gist of his story was as follows.
A relative of his, a teacher, asks her class of 14-year-old Irish girls who uses email.
Among the 20 in the class the answer came back: 1.
Teenagers are far from backward in adopting social technologies.
A fellow user asked (on twitter last night) for guesses on which application his teenage daughters were demanding was installed first as he set up a new pc for them.
Answer: IM.

I had 20 minutes of free wifi time at King's Cross station in London today before catching a train home. Every one of those 20 minutes were spent deleting spam from my work email account.

I dare say spam can reach me in ways other than email (see this morning's post for a user experience version, for a start). But if you're looking for the president of spam right now, email wins by a landslide.

Tomi Ahonen sent me a gmail last night to say he was at Heathrow. Tomi's a connected guy. I responded by gmail. But the thing that got our conversation reconnected was an sms text.

There's too much wrong with email. 14-year-old girls know this. I'm just trying to catch up.

By the way, Paul Golding presented some brilliant advice for the design of user experiences at MIPS, so I feel comfortable recommending his book.

He also said the nicest thing anyone said about me all day during his presentation.
He described be as: "The UK's foremost evangelist for twitter (probably)"

I'll live with that. Follow me there - it's a better bet than email for a start!


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?