I found this little gem by Don Philabaum "Do you IM?" on the Wired Communities blog. Don is suggesting that the younger generation is embracing the synchronous communication tools ahead of the "oldies" like the humble email, which is so. However, I submit that the Internet has been yet again polarized along the age demographics: between those who are at or over the zenith of their useful life and tose who are still at the pre-zenith. In fact the polarization along the age line is more accentuated than along any other demarcation line including cultural, political etc. More and more of the mature folks are discovering the Internet but mainly as email. To them Internet = email. The maturing community - after experimentations and experiences with the various interactive tools like IM - are returning to the more mature tools like the email. As the netizens mature the email is becoming their darling again. I suspect it is because the asynchronous communication tools afford its users time to think through what they about to communicate. For the younger netizens this is not an issue. They seem never have time to listen not to mention digest each other's prattle - a kind of natural defense mechanism against the deluge of immature garbage. The mature folks on the other hand are tired of listening to and saying incoherent and incongruent flabs. Although email can't restrain the spread of thought pollution, at least the polution doesn’t come as fast and furious as it does with IMs. Where email really outshines its synchronous communication siblings is in its features to filter out the pollution before it reaches one's grey matter. To what extent the users are willing to filter out the thought pollution is another matter.
PS: Something I found somewhere in Nancy White's space: A Poem by Tom Coleman