Context of text in the next generation May 13, 2008Posted by David Gillespie in marketing, philosophy, work/life.
Tags: Blackberry, communication, Fred Wilson, iPhone, Simon Chen, SMS, text
I read two unrelated posts this morning which both said the same thing; the generation of children who aren’t yet teenagers have an interesting relationship with and approach to communication.
The first was from Fred Wilson who was after a new phone for his daughter to replace a broken iPhone. Funnily enough, she didn’t want it replaced with an iPhone, 2007’s must have toy.
She wants the new crimson red Blackberry Curve.
Fortunately, it looks like I can get an unlocked one on eBay for between $100 and $200.
I wonder what this says? I realize it’s a sample size of one, but I’ve heard that a bunch of her friends have also given up their iPhones in search of a better texting device which seems to be the one feature they value most.
The second was from Simon Chen who said exactly the same thing:
Ask a teenager to give up their mobile phone and see what happens. Actually, I bet if you told any kid today that the new rule of the house is their phones would be restricted to voice calls only (and that the text or SMS function would be disabled), there would be a global revolt. Parents would be locked in cars and basements and all manner of threats would be shouted from every rooftop.
Kids don’t talk on phones anymore. They grunt. But the little f@#ckers can text. Man, can they text.
I am loathe to carry out a conversation via text, I flat out refuse and don’t respond, or else I call if it is really important*. But I’ve seen this behaviour in my younger cousins, and being somewhat pedantic about grammar and punctuation, have certainly seen it carried out in the way sentences are constructed – or rather abbreviated into forms that begin to border on unrecognisable.
With this in mind, I’ve begun thinking aloud (and with no real clarity yet) about what this means for the way the next generation will communicate, particularly how they will expected to be communicated to and how this will impact their interactions with the rest of the world.
For example, is it reasonable to expect “correct” grammar to be taught if it ceases to apply to their daily lives the way it does to mine? Will an essay in SMS or l33t speak be admissable in new communications courses once they at university? More applicable to me, how does that change the nature of text in ads? How do you affect the tone of a piece if not just punctuation but vowels themselves cease to play a part? Srlsy?
I’d dismiss the above as nonsense, except I already see my own generation with hard and fast mind sets on certain things nobody had to teach us, we just knew. The notion of respecting someone because of their title never even entered our minds; what do I take for granted that the next batch won’t bat an eyelid at?
The changing nature of communication is something I find endlessly interesting, even if there are no easy answers.
*Things that are important:
- A guitar I simply must have
- The girl I’m seeing accidentally meeting the girl I’m seeing
- Confusion over which bar we will begin the evening’s festivities in
- A Springsteen tour being announced
- More as I think of them…