Social Interaction

Elaine & Priscilla Chan The BBC has been reporting from SXSW this week and today was reporting on how email use is being replaced with status posts to the like of Facebook. While I agree with the premise of the argument I don’t agree with the reasons given.

This shift in communications is, I believe, more of a generational thing.

My grandparents were of an age where they wrote letters and if the message was urgent or time bound then they would send a telegram. We have, for example, a telegram sent from my Grandfather to my Grandmother during the second world war but no other examples. It used to be traditional to receive telegrams at weddings but we certainly didn’t have any.

My parents would send letters but were more likely to make a phone call once this became more cost effective and prevalent.

My generation would (and do telephone) but we are more than comfortable with email as a method of communication.

My children, however, still have all these forms available to them but are most likely to IM,text or update their status. My eldest son is more likely to text me that call me from his mobile. He, and others, are more comfortable with short, snappy bursts of conversation. Interestingly both sons have to be reminded to check their email, not something I have a problem with.

What’s interesting about all of this, as ever, is the rapid rate of change and begs the question what will replace this current trend for instant messaging? The other interesting thing is when connections need to be made across the generational gaps. So the grandparents have yet to find acceptable a “thank you IM” in place of the traditional “thank you letter” much to the disappointment of my children!

[Picture Elaine & Priscilla Chan]