FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 31, 2010
Landlines, emails and even voice calls are losers in personal communication revolution
Show an example of how this paper and its readers communicate in a 21st century way.
Look for any news about how we communicate for fun, education or work.
Do you see an ad for a tech gadget you'd like or a new model of a tool your family has?
You may want to save an email printout or a photo of a home phone as a reminder of how people used to communicate. Both tools could fade from mainstream to memories, especially among students. And although nearly 90 percent of U.S. households have a cell phone, use of voice minutes no longer climbs significantly each year.
We're in a communication revolution that has text messages, tweets, IMs and cell photos nudging aside chatty emails or calls. The average length of a local cell conversation dropped below two minutes in 2009.
Young users aren't alone in moving away from email and calls to keep in touch. The number of text messages sent per user grew by nearly 50 percent nationwide last year, the wireless industry association says. And for the first time in the United States, the amount of data in text, e-mail messages, streaming video, music and other services on mobile devices in 2009 surpassed the amount of voice data in cell calls.
Teens have been in the lead for a while, turning cell phones into texting powerhouses. More than half of them send about 1,500 text messages monthly, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. Convenience and privacy are two big reasons. Parents sometimes screen email, but can't snoop at phone texts as easily. As students reach college with well-establish online identities, many no longer want a campus e-mail address. Boston College last year began offering an e-mail forwarding service instead of a new account.
Other generations also are migrating away from landlines and e-mail for personal communication. Twenty-three percent of U.S. adults have a cell phone but no conventional home phone, federal data showed this month. Even in business, document transfer websites compete with email as a more secure way to share sensitive files and information. Many adults use Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and other networks to let colleagues, friends and relatives know what they're doing, reading or watching. Even they know a Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo! account is so yesterday.
Executive says: "Originally, talking was the only cell phone application. But now it's less than half of the traffic on mobile networks." -- Dan Hesse, chief executive of Sprint Nextel
Trend tracker says: "Email is an increasingly outdated medium." -- Ann Mack, 'director of trend-spotting' at JWT advertising agency
Blogger says: "Email may decline, but it's still largely useful for storage and lengthy conversations." -- Christiene Louviere at christienlouviere.com
Front Page Talking Points
is written by
Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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