Is e-mail the quickest way to reach a person?
When the postal service was launched it was then hailed as the greatest invention in communication. It suddenly seemed that anyone could send messages across distances to their loved ones, friends, and for business reasons. The telephone changed the scheme for things and steadily the cost of communication came down making the phone more widely used. In India for a long time, getting a phone was quite a difficulty – I remember days where one had to apply and wait to get that instrument home. With the coming of the mobile revolution, again the adoption initially was less and scale questioned considering the cost of ownership and usage; but alas here we are with mobile phones in more hands than landline phones in homes – no body ever imagined this to happen so fast. Thanks to the south tending graph of communication costs. It takes less than a rupee and a minute to reach the person who you want – anywhere!
While all of the above has taken over a century, the next round of change is happening much faster than that. Today sending a FB message is a quicker way to reach friends, even cheaper than SMS probably and definitely with greater chances of getting a response than e-mail. E-mail was hailed as the zero cost, greatest speed communication tool BUT here comes FB and other social networking tools where most of the current generation seem to spend their time. In fact just recently I sent a mail to one of my students where I visit to teach and did not get a response for 24 hours – so sent her an FB message and she said she had not checked email in a few days; but there she was on FB!
Most teenagers seem to be spending a large amount of time on social networking sites. With people not having time to visit each other too often, social networking sites are fast becoming the meeting place for many socialites. The fastest (and the cheapest) way to communicate with someone today is seemingly FB or similar social networking sites. With the ushering in of data services on the mobile networks at fairly affordable rates, the telecom market is seeing the emergence of many new adoption trends. What will the next trend be? For one thing human beings cannot be without communicating – long live the communication businesses! Who will beat Mark and FB? Interesting times…..