I’m traveling this week and one of my meetings was with the CIO of a large university. Since I am involved in crisis communication technology and one of the key stakeholder groups university leaders need to communicate with in a hurry when things go wrong is students. The system we were discussing pushes out messages via multi-modes: email, fax, text-to-voice telephone and SMS (text messaging). But, the administrator said, the students don’t use email anymore. Now, I haven’t seen the stats on this yet, but he said he hears that students check their email with decreasing frequency. On the other hand, he said the average MySpace or Facebook user checks their page 30 times a day! Again, don’t quote me and I may not have it right, but the trend is probably accurate.
This article from eMarketer.com bears out the fact that young people are spending a tremendous amount of time of the social networking websites. Of course, from my point of view in delivering communication technology solutions, we have to figure out how to reach key audiences the best, fastest, most comprehensive ways. That may very well mean posting urgent or emergency messages to their social network sites. With their permission, of course. It is a strange and changing world.