Is e-mail dead?
TeensJust as how the song says, “Video killed the radio star…,” it may be that in the not-so-distant future we’ll be singing how Facebook killed e-mail. On the other hand, for many of us who get upwards of 100 e-mails a day, it might actually be a welcomed change.

The findings of a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project on Teens and Social Media are worth a read. The proverbial 8-year old I used to bribe to reprogram my VCR has moved on to be a social networking powerhouse. I expected as much from little Jimmy next door. But, there were also some twists in the findings that held some added interest.

I suspected e-mail was on the decline among American teens, but it was interesting to see that not only is that true, but it’s also the least favored form of communication among teens. Only 14% of all teens report using e-mail to communicate with friends as compared to other forms of online communications.


As for bloggers? Girls beat the boys hands down. Thirty-five percent of teen girls compared with 20% of teen boys.

Then, adding household income to the mix: teens from lower-income and single-parent households are more likely to blog. Thirty-five percent of those from lower-income groups compared to 24% of those from higher-income households. Also interesting, 42% of teens from from single-parent households were likely to blog compared to 25% of teens with married parents.

Social networks: 55% of teens have created a social networking profile. And of those using social networks, 91% say they use such networks to stay in touch with friends, with 72% using the sites not just for staying in touch, but to make plans, as well.

So, is e-mail dead? I’d say not, given the taskers I get regularly via e-mail from business colleagues, the questions I received this morning about a project I’m currently coordinating with an offshore company, the lengthy clarification I sent back via e-mail, and the honey-do list my wife gave me yesterday. 🙁 But, if the study referenced in this post is to be heeded, then I think one message that comes across to me is not whether to use something else in place of e-mail, but rather how we best optimize communication activities in a “multi-channel” (not-too-distant) future.

In reference to Eminent Domain Ruling, June 24, 2005.

…But Thursday’s Supreme Court decision doesn’t mean that every city will decide to take private property from homeowners and transfer it to developers for public use in every situation.

Neil Richards, associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, pointed out that the court spent a lot of time reviewing the proposed development project in New London, and that the decision really means that states have the power to decide for themselves, not necessarily that they will engage in eminent domain activities.

Richards, who teaches constitutional law, privacy law, property and legal history, pointed out an important line in the majority court opinion that says states are free to pass laws saying cities cannot take individuals’ private property.

People who are worried about the possible broad implications for property rights resulting from this case should lobby for state laws to prohibit this, Richards suggests.

The question of whether the court’s decision undermines individual fifth-amendment property rights is tough to answer and depends on a person’s views on where property rights came from, Richards said. “If you believe that property rights are a creation of government, then no,” he said, the decision would not undermine those rights. But a person who believes property rights are a natural human right would feel the opposite.

“I found this to be a very difficult case,” he said. “On the one hand, property rights are important and entitled to significant protection for good reason. On the other hand, what the city was trying to do here seems like a laudable goal.”

It will be interesting to see how the decision plays out in the lower courts, Richards said.