The speed at which Web 2.0 technologies and services are changing the way young people communicate continues to gather pace. I spent the beginning of the week at a conference of university website managers and Web development staff. One of the speakers, Alison Wildish, from Edge Hill University, had some fascinating stats about students’ communication habits gained from some surveys she had carried out at the university.
Of the first year students who started last autumn, 98% had already been active in the blogosphere and social networking media space (MySpace, Facebook etc.). They had a strong preference for Instant Messaging over the use of e-mail for basic communication. Indeed, Alison revealed that only 25% of these new students had made any use at all of the student email account provided for them by the university. Obviously, this has made life a little difficult for academics and support staff wishing to communicate with the students. I’d have thought they would be grateful.