When you look exclusively at younger groups, like teenagers (who will be applying for jobs at your companies in a few short years), the gap between texting and talking is much, much wider. The average teenager takes about 231 calls a month (okay, about the same as the grownups). However, that's in comparison to 1700+ text messages. Yow!
Thoughts beyond the numbers
- I think it's very important to note that the number of cell phone calls is actually slightly higher among teens, than adults. So I don't think the spoken word should be put on the endangered species list, just yet.
- Teens just gab a lot. I did when I was a teen. I bet you did too. And what a shock; they still do. Have you ever been privvy to what teens are texting to each other? Much of it would fall under the "inanity" file. I'm guessing as this generation grows up, the number of text messages will go down and the importance of the messages will go up.
- While the post- 35 years old generation may be burning a lot of unnecessary time on "War and Peace" length e-mails and conference calls, I'm actually hopeful that the generation coming up will naturally economize their words (and thus everyone's time) by their 140 words or less medium for communicating.
- The Babyboom generation gave us the "generation gap" term to describe the disconnect between themselves and their parents. This time around, is it a generation gap or a communication gap? I forsee increasing communication problems in and out of the work place not necessarily by age; but by choice of technology platform. It's the Twitter gap, the texting gap, the e-mail gap, the cell phone gap, the Facebook gap, etc.
- Same language, different meanings. English in shorthand is increasingly looking less like English. All of these communication platforms are creating a techno-tower of Babel. English grammar is being butchered like a Thanksgiving Day turkey. Forget spelling. Forget typing on a QWERTY keyboard with all ten fingers. It's two thumbs on a keypad. Falling by the wayside is all the subtle meanings of intonations and timber of voice. Left in it's wake is oceans of room for misunderstanding in short cryptic messages that can be taken a variety of ways.
What's your long term plan for fostering effective communications among employees, with your customers, your vendors and colleagues?
Last updated: Sep 30, 2008
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio