Ping-ing and email is not fast enough for a generation that thrives on instant gratification. Social networking it is, writes NEETI SARKAR

It won't be long till email is conferred the status of snail mail and dumped for faster and more instant communicators. We used to be happy with email and later with instant messaging (IM) but then came the gazillion social networking sites that have facilitated speedy communication so much so that email could well be extinct within a decade, says a recent finding.

The study commissioned by broadband producer TalkTalk found only 51 per cent of Britons in their teens or early twenties say email is their first choice of communication. Experts have found that emails being too slow, too inconvenient, and not fashionable enough are the top reasons why this kind of communication will end within the next 10 years.

Many youngsters here too seem to concur with this prediction. Computer engineering student Vishwas Aashirwad says: “Keeping up with more people simultaneously happens best on social networking sites. Here's where we find old friends and make new friends. Emails have almost always been about keeping in touch with already established contacts. So most youngsters prefer Facebook to email.”

Tell them your status

“It takes just one status message to tell all your friends what you want them to know. One message can be sent to a host of friends and this is probably why youngsters like me are slowly ditching email and switching to IM and social networking,” states Abhimanyu Pratap, a data analyst.

However, the study also says that email will not be completely abandoned as 86 percent of 15 to 24 year olds do send out emails but not as often as they use other methods of communication. According to placement consultant Aathira Jeyraj, “Even active Facebook users cannot completely do away with the email system. When they are out of college and looking for jobs online, they need to correspond with prospective employers via email. Therefore, for all official purposes, email won't really die out.”

Lavanya S.P., a 22-year-old freelance writer says: “There is no way I'm going to be able to stop using email to send across my stories. I only see a dip in the percentage of youngsters who will use email 10 years from now; there won't be a complete extinction.”

Sociologist Sushil Chandranath believes: “This generation and the ones that will follow will only be too used to hi-tech living. In this mad race against time, the two minute Maggi supporters that like to brew instant coffee will sure brew newer ways of keeping in touch with pals, although email will be popular among the oldies.”