If E-Mail Is Old School, I Must Be Ancient

The rapid pace of change can sometimes make a person feel old. That's how I felt this week when I read about the <a href=http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/04/13yearold_gets.html>LG National Texting Championship.</a>

Paul Travis, Managing Editor, InformationWeek.com

April 26, 2007

2 Min Read

The rapid pace of change can sometimes make a person feel old. That's how I felt this week when I read about the LG National Texting Championship.Don't get me wrong. I have texted, and I can appreciate that the younger generation has found a new way to communicate and stay in touch. And I don't think that just because kids leave out vowels and punctuation means they are illiterate. But the popularity of texting has some concerned.

An Irish education commission expressed concern this week that texting could harm the ability of the younger generation to learn how to write. "Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing," the commission said.

That may be true. But I also believe that language -- and writing styles -- evolve as times change, and that smart kids will adapt and adjust as necessary to succeed in the business world. So I don't get too worried about kids who spend a lot of their time texting on cell phones.

What I find fascinating in this regard is how quickly tech trends go in and out of fashion with young folks. As my colleague Stephen Wellman discussed recently in in a blog post, e-mail is now consider an old fogey form of communications. For kids used to social networking sites, instant messaging, and texting, e-mail is their equivalent of "snail mail," the insult many of us use for physical, hard copy communications delivered by a real person who visits our home or office most days. If e-mail is old school, what does that make me - someone who remembers when fax machines were a revolutionary new form of instant communications.

If you're not worried about feeling old, go and read about the Texting Championship and look at the photo gallery from the competition. It probably won't surprise you to learn that it was won by a 13 year old.

About the Author(s)

Paul Travis

Managing Editor, InformationWeek.com

Paul Travis is Managing Editor of InformationWeek.com. Paul got his start as a newspaper reporter, putting black smudges on dead trees in the 1970s. Eventually he moved into the digital world, covering the telecommunications industry in the 1980s (when Ma Bell was broken up) and moving to writing and editing stories about computers and information technology in the 1990s (when he became a "content creator"). He was a news editor for InformationWeek magazine for more than a decade, and he also served as executive editor for Tele.Com, and editor of Byte and Switch, a storage-focused website. Once he realized this Internet thingy might catch on, he moved to the InformationWeek website, where he oversees a team of reporters that cover breaking technology news throughout the day.

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