Now that millennials are old enough to potentially purchase homes, the media (and corporations) have turned their attention to Generation Z, an elusive group of...teens? middle schoolers...? who grew up with the internet and have something called "yik yak" that I don't quite understand. The rise of Gen Z—kids born between 1995 and 2010—is a relief to Millennials, who have spent the last decade or so serving as the Trend Piece's punching bag—now it's time to turn our attention to a new generation! And these new targets are reportedly unfamiliar with electronic mail, or "e-mail."
According to the Wall Street Journal, today's teens are so used to communicating via text message, G-chat or Facebook chat that they consider it a "rite of passage" to send an email. “The way I first perceived email was, it was something my parents did for work,” a senior at GWU told the paper; a junior at the University of Maryland told the WSJ he thinks he's "more of an adult" now that he uses email, and a senior at University of Antwerp in Belgium said she would "never even think of emailing my friends, they would just react super weird."
It's strange to think that email as a form of non-professional communication could go the way of the handwritten letter, since for a lot of us, email feels relatively new. Not that long ago, AIM and email were revolutionary. Now we have a bajillion ways to contact one another, and though I certainly use my personal email to make plans and coordinate with my friends, there are many random product pitches and Google Alerts for "millennial surveys" (which my boss made me set) cluttering my inbox that I can understand preferring to stick with something more immediate and personal like a text message. The WSJ also points out that emailers are more prone to gaffes like hitting "reply-all" or making typos, the latter of which is more forgivable during quick chat communication, so maybe the kids are right to poo-poo it.
All of this is to say, of course, that this new generation will soon Have Its Day, and technology is moving so fast that our communication and office habits might be rendered passé faster than those of the generations before us. Is email already dead? Certainly not, but it might not be the worst thing if it got phased out in the long run. Just ask Amy Pascal!