Email Is the New Generation Gap

Two weeks ago, we surveyed 3,670 people online about how they communicate. We discovered a remarkable difference between people over 41, who say they often talk on email more than they do in real life, and younger people who love in-person meetings and use a variety of apps. Is this our first digital generation gap?The Survey The survey was three simple questions: we asked for each respondent’s age, then asked how they communicate at work/school, and how they communicate with friends. People could choose multiple answers to the communication questions, which listed popular apps, as well as “meeting in person” and “using the phone.” I wasn’t interested in numbers of hours that a person spent with each medium of communication; instead, wanted to know how people would describe the way they talk to other people. So what we have here is a record of people’s subjective beliefs about the main ways they communicate.A caveat: This is by no means a scientific study, and participants were obviously drawn from people who read Gizmodo and their friends. So it’s a group biased toward online communication, and clustered pretty heavily in the 21-40 age bracket (out of 3,670 respondents who told us their age, 1,337 were between 21-30, and 1,191 were between 31-40). We didn’t ask people about their country of origin, but based on Gizmodo’s readership, it’s reasonable to speculate that most respondents came from the developed world and the west.

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