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i feel old - text vs email

Jeanne Boyarsky
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There's an article in tomorrow's New York Times magazine about college students not checking email. (Yes, the Sunday magazine comes out on Saturday). A study showed 6 minutes per day on email vs 2 hours online per day. (It sounds like a study that wasn't statistically valid.). I'm including some snippets from the article here along with my thoughts on them. I'm just bewildered.

now students avoid e-mail because it is “too slow compared to texting.”

That's the point. Email is for things that don't require an immediate reply.

“E-mail has never really been a fun thing to use,” said Ms. Judge, 19. “It’s always like, ‘This is something you have to do.’ School is a boring thing. E-mail is a boring thing. It goes together.”

I fail to see how the same info by text is more fun. This seems like a logical fallacy. That fun topics are discussed elsewhere so therefore it is the email medium's fault?

“I never know what to say in the subject line and how to address the person,” Ms. Carver said. “Is it mister or professor and comma and return, and do I have to capitalize and use full sentences? By the time I do all that I could have an answer by text if I could text them.”

This sounds like what is said about letter writing! I don't consider email so formal! That said, I like to capitalize and use full sentences. I feel old that I value this. But it is the last sentence of this quote that really bothers me. The expectation that the professor should be available at all times to text back immediately.

Canvas, a two-year-old learning management system used by Brown University, among others, allows students to choose how to receive messages like “The reading assignment has been changed to Chapter 2.” The options: e-mail, text, Facebook and Twitter. According to company figures, 98 percent chose e-mail.

And yet, what does this say about the whole article by using it as an ending.


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fred rosenberger
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My nephew, who graduated college this past may, told me years ago that "email is for old people". He seldom checks his, which made it hard to arrange our carpool, since I would often go for a week at a time not finding my phone so I couldn't check texts.


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Steve Luke
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I think the main decision point for texting versus email was made back before the smartphone craze. Any feature phone could send a text, but most couldn't send email. So email required a computer and so was not as portable and was harder to use. So it also became a generational delineation between those who though email was fast and informal and those who grew up with texts as faster and informal-er. Smartphones make the difference less pronounced ... I generally don't understand the difference between texting and email nowadays since everyone I know who texts has a smartphone and email capability (and all the latest craze is the text systems which can work over the data connection instead of the phone so it costs less - just like email!)

As a side story: I have a coworker who is an iPhone user who hates texting me because I have Android and so texts aren't iText and so don't go over data. I told him to use iEmail, because that always goes over data but he didn't appreciate 'the joke' (which I didn't think was a joke, but apparently Apple hasn't put an indie song over a 'people emailing montage' so it isn't cool yet).


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Bear Bibeault
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Your co-worker's concern may be valid. Until very shortly ago, my Verizon plan charged 20¢ per text; whereas an "iText" (as you call it) was free.

I just bought a couple of iPhone 5S phones and changed to a new plan that has a decent number of free texts. But before that, like your coworker, I wouldn't text anyone not on an iPhone 'cause I didn't want to pay for it.


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Steve Luke
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Your co-worker's concern may be valid. Until very shortly ago, my Verizon plan charged 20¢ per text; whereas an "iText" (as you call it) was free.

I just bought a couple of iPhone 5S phones and changed to a new plan that has a decent number of free texts. But before that, like your coworker, I wouldn't text anyone not on an iPhone 'cause I didn't want to pay for it.


My point wasn't about the cost or saying iText was a gimmick - it was that email is the same thing but using the email app instead of the text app, and not requiring all your friends to have Apple products to use.
Bear Bibeault
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Yeah, I get the joke. But I can get his not getting it.
Chan Ag
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All my friends use texting ( the sms ), though I'm not a fan of sms texting. I never even read my sms texts and many a times I've missed a couple important messages, but people who know me now know that if they'd send me an sms text, chances are I won't ever read them. So I've kind of always been old. :-)

And I hate that 'u' for you and that 'wbu' for what about you thingy. I wish twitter allowed us to write longer tweets.

A couple of years back I'd get those 'sorry', 'thanks' sort of sms texts sometimes, but I kind of never responded quite as much or responded only when it was either late at night or if I didn't have access to my laptop or calling back was not an option somehow. And whenever I responded via sms texts, I wrote the shortest responses. So people stopped sending me those sms texts. Thank God.

Now I like the email like messages that we can send via smart phones and that work over a data card. But I still hate the sms texts, and those deliberately shortened words that I sometimes get to see in emails too ( though I wonder why people do that in an email message ).


Steve Luke
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  21

Bear Bibeault wrote:Yeah, I get the joke. But I can get his not getting it.

Can you explain it to me then? Because I didn't mean it as a joke. Why is it when you want to send a message to me over data so you don't get charged SMS fees and you use email a joke, while with the same requirements and using iText* with the requirement the receiver is using an iPhone not a joke? Why is using email not a 'real' option regardless of what the other person is using, as long as it is a smartphone?

*I use iText because that is what my coworker called it when sms texts are routed over data channels. I assume it is correct, but it could be a fictitious name put to an Apple product like iTouch is to the iPod Touch.
Bear Bibeault
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Chill, dude. You're the one who said "joke".

For the record, I likely send 1,000 emails for every text that I send.
Ulf Dittmer
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fred rosenberger wrote:My nephew, who graduated college this past may, told me years ago that "email is for old people".

I can anecdotally confirm this. It's exceedingly rare for me to get an email reply from my nieces and nephews (in their late teens and early twenties). While they didn't put it like that, they just don't seem to do email. I think they read it, it just doesn't occur to them to send or reply.


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Steve Luke
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Chill, dude. You're the one who said "joke".

OK, true, didn't mean to come off like that. I did say he called it a joke but I immediately commented that I didn't mean it that way. Then you said you got the joke and I thought I must have missed something (like maybe a commercial or something that used it as a punch-line).

edit: fixed text speak. Of all the times to let it slip in :P
Bear Bibeault
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Yes, I get why he thought it was a joke. While I'm not a huge fan of texting myself, I can see how people would think that texting and emailing aren't even remotely the same thing. So you might as well have told him to use a can-and-string.

Just my take on why he reacted that way.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Interestingly after emailing a high school student twice to no avail, I sent him a message on Facebook. This was the message. Hoping I get a reply that doesn't require me to go on Facebook to get it. (I mentor the programmers on a FIRST robotics team and I need to email in something after the students do a piece.)

"did you do xxx. i'm hardly on facebook so feel free to email back. apparently this makes me old "
fred rosenberger
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One major advantage email has over texting it in communicating to a specific group of people.

Now, I admit I don't do much texting. I may not know all the ins and outs. But I don't know how to send a single text to 30 people all at once. Can you set up a distribution list for texts?
Ulf Dittmer
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The hot thing in texting these days is using apps like WhatsApp that a) support groups conversations, and b) use data communication instead of phone communication, thus being essentially free if one has a data flat rate.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Ulf Dittmer wrote: b) use data communication instead of phone communication, thus being essentially free if one has a data flat rate.

This part I understand. Phone "requires" an immediate reply as does text. They are similar mediums. Email shouldn't require an immediate response time. So switching from email to text is like saying "this is important enough that I'd be willing to pick up the phone and interrupt you to get a reply."
Ulf Dittmer
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Phone "requires" an immediate reply as does text.

Interesting, I see it rather differently. SMS/WhatsApp gets answered when conveninent, not when they arrive. I haven't heard anyone -young or old- saying that they expect immediate replies to SMS.
fred rosenberger
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I agree with Jeanne. a SMS/test to me feels like an IM chat/conversation - more real-time.

email is "i need an answer when you can get to this"
Bear Bibeault
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Heh. Had this conversation with a co-worker this morning. He can't understand why his son won't pick up the phone or answer an email and, instead, texts everything.
 
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