Just E-Mail Dad

Generation Z EmailFor all of the ubiquity that email offers us in the workplace, at home, in commerce and purchasing – I’ve come to realize for my kids (and I would suspect others in Generation Z) email is a necessity simply to register for apps and other things – and not a means of communication.  When a message needs to be delivered, my girls just leave it with a simple, “just email dad” when it comes time for them to give out their email address.

I first realized this when 12.5’s softball coach asked for her email so she could get team updates directly.  She politely but directly told her coach, “Just email dad, I have the girls on the team on group chat.”  The use case was re-emphasized this week when 15.0’s soccer coach started sending out updates for summer workouts.  They come straight to me, her email is not even on the distribution.

For those of us in the semi-modern workplace, email management is almost part of the job.  For me and most of my co-workers, a day with 100 or more work emails is the norm.  Add to that personal emails account(s) and I can easily deal with more than 500 emails a day.

The reality is most of them are either deleted before looking at them, or deleted after a quick look at the subject line only – but that is the way email management works.  For Gen Z though, it’s just not the case.  The most relevant statistics I could find are from 2012 – and I would suspect the trend that showed three years ago continues:

  • Of 1000 people from eight to 17 only half said they use email on a daily basis as a means to communicate – trailing talking, texting and social networks.
  • When looking at a sub class of that 1000 asked in the age group of 13-17 email usage falls to under 25%.
  • 25% of that 1000 say they check messages (text, email and social media) within the first five minutes of waking up.  More than half (52%) say they have checked within the first hour of being away.
  • The 13-17 year old sub class of that group has already sent more than 50 text messages or social network updates in that time.  Total email messages sent is fewer than 10.

In a business sense, this means connecting with this generation – which the same study says has “desirable and disposable” income means changing up from the new traditional marketing (email) to a new paradigm of social marketing and leveraging channels like Snap Chat and other emerging platforms.

In a practical sense though, if you want to get hold of my kids and don’t know how to text them, “just email dad”  apparently I deliver messages more efficiently than the post office.

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Family Time in the Post Modern World

The girls with Travis Hamonic (l) and Brock Nelson (r)

The girls with Travis Hamonic (l) and Brock Nelson (r)

Today was a family day for us – courtesy of the New York Islanders.  It was their annual meet the team day at Adventure Land (an amusement park not far from our house).  As the day played out, I realized our time is like family time in the post modern world.  And that is probably not so bad.

Among the things I try to do is I try to raise two girls who can be independent.  I realize one will be 12 next week and the other is 14.5 – so they are not completely ready to be out on their own.  But it’s not like they are five and seven and need me in the middle of their worlds all the time.

So we wandered through the park getting autographs.  14.5 took lead in plotting the course.  The goal was the new players on the team, and the few players (John Tavares) we didn’t get at the event last year.  And we were pretty successful.  We met the new goalies (Halak and Johnson), the Russian imports (Grabovski and Kulemin), the younger players (Strome, deHaan, Lee and Nelson) and some favorites (Hamonic and Carkner).

We also bumped into some friends, the Ice Girls and did a few spins on the roller coaster, Frisbee and other rides.  A little more than three hours later – we headed out for lunch.

Up the road from Adventure Land, we sat at a chain restaurant and the girls were busy catching up with their friends via Instagram, Snap Chat and group text.  They were engaged with each other and their friends – the devices did not take away from the family time, but gave it that post modern feel.

I’m feeling good about not being a fan of the post modernist movement – but for family time in the post modern world, we do OK.

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