Yesterday’s post about the internet and what we can learn from the demise of HMV didn’t raise that many comments but it certainly did the rounds, being more shared on Facebook than anything that I’ve written in months. It was picked up as a conversation topic by the Anglican Church of Canada’s The Conversation too. I think The Conversation is a private social network which that church runs. I’m interested in that in itself but I’m going to leave learning about that for another day.
Today I want to pick up on something that was said in the comments. This came in from Bosco:
Iâ€™m not as convinced as you about the value of email. Convince me. I suspect it is a dying medium â€“ but we should still hop on while it is still alive, conscious that young people donâ€™t use it. It is still-useful last millennium technology.
I know what Bosco is talking about. The use of email is often said to be falling and falling much faster amongst the young than the old.Â (Oops, I mean younger and older, don’t I?).
I’ve a feeling that email is not going away quite that fast. More that it is changing. It seems to me that as people are getting more and more ways of communicating then they naturally choose the most appropriate for what it is they want to communicate.
If you want to meet up with friends, it is much easier to plan things on a social network than by email. However, that presumes that you are all on the same system.
Ubiquity is the thing here. Most people I know are on Facebook. However just about everyone I want to communicate with has an email account.
Email is good for some things. Twitter for others. Facebook for others.
Depends on audience, urgency and what I’m trying to say.
As a sideline, I’d say that I’m seeing a decline in blogging. And paradoxically a continued rise in the importance of blogging.
It seems to me that there are fewer blog posts being written. Quite a number of people who have tried the blogging lark are finding it a bit of a bind and giving up. After all, social networks beat blogging as a way of letting your mates know what is in your head every minute during the day and that was what a lot of people were using blogs for.
The blogs that are lasting are, unsurprisingly, those where the author has a clear idea of what they are trying to communicate. I think I’m like a number of people who are keeping up the stream of consciousness on twitter whilst saving blog posts for more substantial posts. Fewer blog posts – better quality. What’s not to like?
I think that I primarily use blogging to perform and converse, email to inform and converse and preaching and social networks to beguile and converse. However that may just be me. The primary thing is that they are all about conversation.
Some of the choices that people make about their choice of online communication medium are all about tone. Email has become a relatively formal way of communicating. My guess is that it is still the case that most people communicate more by using email than social networks when they are working whilst the opposite may be true when they are not working.
Am I right about that?