I have taken notice lately of a trend, or actually maybe more of a tendency, of younger people (not just designers) relying more and more upon email for communications with others. At my perticular place of employment, I am sort of a “middle ground” in terms of age and I use both email and phone calls to conduct my business (communicating with customers, sales people, vendors, and co workers). What I have noticed is that the older folks (35 and above) that I deal with on a reguler basis use the phone more (even when an email would be best) while the younger people (27 and below) lean on email more (even when a phone call would be better).
I don’t know that I have many real guidelines for how I decide whether to make a more personal phone call or to write a much more impersonal email, but one of them is that when I need to communicate hard data (such as prices, dimensions or other sepecifications) I like to use email so that the information is clear and can be referenced to later (aka CYA paper trail). At times when a vendor is not producing to expectations or when I haven’t heard from a customer in a while, I tend to pick up the phone to try and establish the “emotional” connection.
As many people do, I consider my way of doing things to be the best and it frustrates me when I get phone calls from older folks who want to transmit a laundry-list of data that I then have to scratch down on scrap paper that is only too easily lost later on. Or, when a vendor really needs to be chewed out and instead of the hammer being laid down verbally, I hear the clicking and tapping of one of the younger folks typing an email that is only too easily ignored, forgotten about, etc.
Anybody else notice this or have a different take? In spite of the frustration decsribed above, I am actually fascinated by the difference that these two generations have in the way they do things. I don’t think it’s just a “potato / patato” thing - I suspect there is a larger cultural / phychological shift happening… but that’s just my theory.