The Digital Generation Divide

Dan Kimmerling on Techcrunch says that Facebook is the new Outlook for the younger generation

for young people, who really only care about functionality, Facebook succeeds because it is the killer web application for communications and personal information management. Facebook Mail is not without its problems, but the combination of Facebook Mail, Facebook Chat, and what is functionally an auto updating address book, makes Facebook into the new Outlook not only for those who are inside of Silicon Valley, but for anyone of the millions of people who use Facebook as either their sole or their primary digital identity.

What I find interesting is that I know plenty of older people (ie of my generation and older) who have never used Facebook or Myspace, and plenty of younger people (ie younger than me) who never use email.

For people leaving university today, email is like carbon paper – it was used by their parents, and perhaps it is still used in a quaint way by their bank or tax office.

Meanwhile the people who run government departments in the UK, and who run private firms, reckon they are hip and down with the kids if they answer their own emails.

2 thoughts on “The Digital Generation Divide”

  1. I am going to have to disagree with the line “For people leaving university today, email is like carbon paper”, unless I am already old at 23. I have a divide between formal and non-formal communication, and so do most of my friends. Emails now have more of the formality of letters, facebook is like texting over the internet. It is extremely casual. If I want to remember a piece of communication, it is emailed. Facebook is for throw away questions about parties. Also, maybe I am geeky to think about this, but I could never put my sole online identity into a silo like facebook.

  2. Ryan – That’s a fair point. I may have overstated the younger generation’s disassociation with email – but there is no question that it is not being used by younger people in the way that my generation used it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *