Young and the restless prefer IM to email

Given my previous post and Donald Norman’s recommendation that designers facilitate past-as-just-present functionality, I found the following headline in My Yahoo! news section particularly timely: “Email is for older people, teens say in survey.” Settings aside the fact that many in the world now view me as old, the fact that today’s teenagers prefer IM to email tells me that IM needs to grow up a bit or teenagers need to develop (or already possess) significant short-term memory capacity (i.e. more than the older set).

One of the reasons I use Trillian Pro is for its invaluable “prior chat capture” feature. Certainly there are times when individual chats with someone else run a wide enough range of topics that past history is rather moot, but being able to visually recall previous discussions with coworkers and colleagues is fantastic.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project study in question may be found here.

It’s important not to forget that despite what one generation may think of another, that those who build software keep in mind that generations very much change. Software designed for one may not be usable to or used by another.