For the next generation of web users, the real Web 2.0, RSS and email don’t mean anything. Its all IM all the time. I think this should be a reminder for the folks at AOL that their single biggest asset is the AIM client, not some moronic service they forcefeed users on. They should try and capitalize on this. Anyway this post makes all the right arguments about IM and how it has embedded itself into the digital lives of teens and the young uns!
Melora Zaner did some great research into why youth are throwing away email for IM. In my blogging research, I was only able to validate her findings. Youth use email to talk with parents and authorities (including corporate emails like from Xanga); it’s where they get the functional stuff. They check email once a day. They get notices there, but they’re mostly disregarded. IM is where the action is. Youth see this as their digital centerpiece, where they communicate with their friends, thereby maintaining their intimate community. They use the Profiles in IM to find out if their friends updated their LJs or Xangas, even though they are subscribed by email as well. The only feed they use is the LJ friends list and hyper LJ users have figured out how to syndicate Xangas into LJ. [Remember: blog is not a meaningful term to youth culture.]
I think looking beyond the stifling definitions in the US, globally one can include SMS as a big thing, and not email. I know most of my nephews and nieces SMS me, rather than send me an IM message, email or heaven forbid, a phone call.