I found this posting on Crunch Gear about an article by Stefanie Olsen of CNET about how teens prefer to communicate with each other by using social network sites such as MySpace and Facebook or text messaging instead of e-mail. In fact according to the teens interviewed for the article they claim that e-mailed is old-fashioned, out-of-date, so last whatever means of communicating with adults who don't get it.
These are not just any teens either. The panel discussion at Mashup 2007 was made up of teen entrepreneurs who are probably making more money than all of us put together. Most of the panelists said they only use e-mail to communicate with adults about business dealings which adults in the business world prefer. A few of the teens don't even use e-mail at all.
Interesting, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook are becoming the preferred method of communication. These sites and others like it have been used by kids for the last few years as a means of expressing themselves to friends and others. Apparently these sites that make many adults, especially educators, nervous have made a transition to cell phones.
Another method of communication teens use is text messaging on cell phones. Text messaging has been the way European and Asian kids communicate for years because of higher talk time costs. Text messaging is so widespread that Scottish schools allowed texting short hand to be used on year-end national exams. Now text messaging has made it to American kids as providers have lowered text messaging costs.
The interesting thing here is this could be a signal of a shift in the way people will communicate with each other in the business world in the coming future. Recent graduates entering the business world took their passion for instant messaging with them to work. What does this have to do with education? We should encourage young people to be responsible when using Internet communications by reminding them anything and I mean anything posted on the Internet can be found at some later date. The recent attempt of blackmailing Miss New Jersey should drive home this lessons since the "incriminating" photos where published somewhere on the Internet and found. Assignments using social networking methods also teach a more practical use of this communication and that you are watching.