Email is for Old People

Posted in Facebook, Interactive, Marketing, Social Media, twitter at 8:48 am by Curtis J. Morley

Email is for Old People

About three or four years ago I was giving a presentation about technology at a large prestigious University to a group of  Masters students soon to graduate.  The presentation was going well and the crowd  seemed to be engaged and enjoying what I had to say.  I had made it through approximately half of my slides and had mentioned something about an email I had received, when suddenly, from the middle of the auditorium style room a student shouted out, "Email is for old people."

This comment caught me off guard and I stopped the presentation.  I asked, "Who just said that?"  The formal setting prohibited  the disruptor from volunteering right away out of embarrasment.  The crowd was large enough and the room lights were dimmed low enough that I couldn't pick the culprit out.  It seemed that whoever had made the disruption realized that maybe he shouldn't have blurted out the comment.  After some cajoling, a hand was raised and the once brazen student admitted to the outburst.

I asked him, "What do you mean, email is for old people?"  He explained, to the agreement of the crowd, "No one uses email anymore! The only time we use email is when our professors make us check our grades."  I was very interested in what he had to say and so instead of continuing on my topic I put away my clicker, abandoned my slides and just had a conversation with the group.

"So Who uses email on regular basis?"
Less than a fourth of the hands went up.

"How do you get a hold of one another?"
"We text, twitter, or Facebook."
"Email is so slow.  We want to get ahold of our friends instantly."
"Yeah, it takes forever to get someone to answer an email."
"We can text during class and in meetings.  You can't really do that with a phone call."

"How many of you will text first instead of calling on the phone?"
Almost all hands were raised.

"How do you communicate anything substantial, with only 160 characters?"
"U only need 160 chars 2 say what U need 2 say. FYI."
"Facebook is for bigger stuff - and pictures."
"If you really need to write something big you just post it to your blog.  I have an RSS feed of all my friends blogs."

The conversation continued like this for the duration of my visit.  The votes were in and email failed the test of GenY and the Millennials. The next generation weighed-in and without an instantaneous response they are not interested.

A friend of mine, James Keddington, heard a similar story when he saw Gen. Colin Powell speak who shared an experience about his Grandson saying the same thing, "Email is for old people Grandpa!"

So, what does this mean for the world of Marketing?  It means that those Masters students have been in the work force for several years now.  It means that we can not ignore the power of new media, social networks, and social media.  It means that 1f we adapt our products and marketing efforts to this group where they live, how they live and on the platforms they live on then we will span the generational gap and be a thriving company in the next five years.


Curtis J. Morley

P.S.  Let's regain our youth and instigate a worldwide "Email Free Friday."


  1. Frantz said,

    March 4, 2010 at 9:28 am


    I like the thought. It seems to me that there has to be a way to market to a community of people who want your product and services. I’m not quite sure that I have the answer to this, but I do believe that social network marketing is the wave of the future and the future is now.

  2. Andrew said,

    March 12, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Email has its’ place as does texting. When I need complicated answers to many questions at once I send an email; when I want a short answer like who wants to go the bar I’ll text.

    As for Facebook, maybe I just haven’t let my inner attention whore out yet.

  3. Steve Brownlee said,

    March 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    And brazen, narrow-minded opinions are for college students.

    The reality is that email is still a major communication medium, just not for 20-year-olds who are seeking bar buddies, the closest pizza joint, or study partners.

    Sophisticated users of technology still rely upon email as part of their overall arsenal – alongside social media outlets – to communicate ideas, questions, and topics that cannot be covered in a Twitter post.

    If I was back in college, I’m sure I wouldn’t use email for much of anything that was related to friends, my curriculum, or social life. Luckily, college students make up only a small set of test subjects for evaluating communication media.

    Oh, and if there was an “Email Free Friday”, I would then be presented with “I Just Got Fired Saturday”.

  4. Jay said,

    March 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Curtis, speaking of email, How do I email you? Wanted to know when your teaching at UVU. Do you teach any classes in SLCC, or in Salt Lake County?

  5. Debra Lund said,

    March 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Now, Curtis, if we could just get the phone to stop ringing!!! E-mail, phones, texts. It never stops. What I mean to say is whether its the phone, e-mails or texts, they all have a place in our lives. I just wish I could visit that place less often. Bill Gates said that we would have a paperless world. I am also waiting for that day. Until then, I guess I will continue using the tools for their best and wisest use. I am with you . . . one day without e-mail would be sooooo nice!!!! Great thoughts. Thanks!

  6. leef said,

    June 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    You should’ve asked about the content of their SMS. Are they short communications “hey, where are you”, “I’m here”, “do you want to grab lunch?” “meet me in VIP”? Or are they actually carrying out higher level conversation via SMS that perhaps span 10-20 texts per conversation? Email obviously doesn’t make sense for the prior, but is better suited for longer conversation. But I’d be curious to know how they’re using it.

  7. Informatik Marko said,

    July 8, 2010 at 2:37 am

    I also have problems with syntax error #1084:Ok here is where I stumble myself all the time:
    (this is only a part of my code):
    public var movie : ArrayCollection;

    public var opisslikOkn: String;

    public function nalozi():void

    public function nalozgal(event:ResultEvent):void
    {movie} = event.result.gallery.movie;
    now the error msg tells me error is at line #32, although I only have 29 lines.
    please help, I need it urgently.
    I really like your blog, cause it helped me a lot already.
    tnx in advance.

  8. Informatik Marko said,

    July 8, 2010 at 2:52 am

    that error it throws me at the end of this function:

    public function nalozgal(event:ResultEvent):void
    {movie} = event.result.gallery.movie;
    }******here it says is the error, this is only line 29, but error supose to be at line 32. i can’t figure it out.

  9. Informatik Marko said,

    July 8, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I forgot to write that error says: “error1084: identifier expected before assign”. Need help please.

  10. CurtisMorley.com » Companies move away from Email and toward social messaging. said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    […] year I posted my experience that "Email is for old People" stating that we as a society are moving away from email as the primary form of communication. Now […]

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