Email out, IM in?

berkeley, friends, research, iSchool

Doug on Paul Saffo ("Paul Saffo: Professionally vapid"):

Now notice this about the quote ? his anecdotal evidence ? two high school students ? don?t support his generalizing thesis that e-mail is out and IM is in.

After reading this, I remembered hearing something recently researchy about kids and IM. There was a recent Pew Internet and American Life study, "Generations Online", that had the following results:

  • 75% of Online Teens (12-17) instant-message compared with an average of 38% of those online between the ages of 40 and 70.
  • Email use is almost constant at around 90% of all online Americans.

So, while email may not be out, IM is certainly in for the younger online Americans.

Outside of the realm of research, the iSchool's own danah posted on "how to kill email" in the context of Goodmail (AOL and Yahoo!'s e-stamp program):

What i want to highlight instead is an aspect i haven't heard discussed in the context of this: email is already dying amongst youth. Right now, most of us in our 20s view postal mail as the site of bills and junk mail; the occasional letter and package is super exciting, but we can almost always predict those (they are usually correlated with birthdays, holidays and the one-click button). For youth, it's the same story with email - you get notices from parents, adults, companies, junk mail, and the occasional attachment that was announced via IM. Add postage stamps to this and email will become even less valuable; your friends won't pay for it so the system will highlight the companies over your friends - yuck. Even those who appreciate sending email will be alienated by turning this into a capitalist enterprise. Yuck. Bye bye email, hello IM and SMS and alternative asynchronous message systems. There's nothing like giving corporations a preferential position in the system to destroy a communications platform.

UPDATE [2006-02-20T13:05:52]: See an update from Doug here: "More on "youth" generalizations". (Although, I was talking about the "Demographics Online" study, not the social networking one.)

Also, see these posts from Judd: "Email Out, IM In?" and "What?s ?Use? About?".

Innovation at the ACCURATE retreat

elections, reform, news, privacy, research, policy, usability

During yesterday's ACCURATE retreat we got to see what everyone was working on in their elections-related research. There was a lot of neat stuff, especially from David Wagner's group. Wagner's group (including Ping, David, Arel, Naveen and Yoshi Kohno) are working on ideas like low-fi random number generation, hardware isolation of subsystems, an electronic vote storage device that is tamper-evident and preserves privacy and reducing UI code -- the bulk of voting system code -- to a very small core that is easily auditable.

David Chaum, an ACCURATE affiliate, gave a short and fascinating presentation and demonstration of his new Punchscan method of voting. Here's the idea:

Full story »

Getting rid of the chat in GMail...


Follow Tim's directions here: Getting rid of that pesky GTalk box in Gmail... look down at the bottom of the page and there is a link for "standard without chat". Click it.

Joe's a presentation dork...


So, I've grown very very fond of Mac OS X's negative mode (you can invert the screen colors on a Mac OS X system by hitting Ctrl-Opt-Cmd-8). However, it seems that one can get too used to it. Case in point: I gave a talk yesterday at the ACCURATE retreat at SRI and was so excited/nervous that I forgot to turn it off during my talk. I didn't realize it until later that evening. No one else seems to have noticed as my talk was just black text on a white background (white text on black in negative mode).

I'm a dork. More on the ACCURATE retreat later...

Oh yeah, here's even more dorkiness. I use a little timer during talks to keep track of time (Chimoo Timer). It allows you to use Mac OS X's voice synthesizer so that it can "speak" at you when your time is up. During my talk, my timer went off and it said, "Time is up, biatch!" I quickly said, "Hopefully, none of you heard that." No one did.


music, hacks, privacy

Interesting (via a Google AdSense ad, no less). In addition to efforts like mine, where I publish information about cool shows, there's also this: Apparently, Track50 will send you email (if and only if) a musical artist of your choice schedules a show in your area. (Maybe I should stop doing this work? ... I wonder if its general enough to do general notions of events?)

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