E-mail vs. text: a question for young workers

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I recently e-mailed our babysitter about some upcoming dates. I waited and waited for her response, but it never came—by e-mail, anyway. When I finally thought to check, there was a prompt answer waiting on my cell phone. “ive gt dance rhsl so i cant,” she’d texted. Oh. Thx anywy.

It’ll come as no particular shock to you that my high-school babysitter prefers to text rather than e-mail. But a work friend tells me that’s true of most young office workers too. They text to set up interviews, to check directions, even to toss off thank-yous. And that means we older workers have to start flexing our thumbs. Including me, an excruciatingly slow-adapting Gen Xer.

Question for you young ‘uns, and those of you who manage or work with them: is this negotiable? Why is texting better than e-mailing, especially if you have a mobile e-mail device? (Listen to me; mobile e-mail device. Apparently I just graduated from carrier pigeons.) Do you text your boss? What with texting and Facebook and IM, do you even check—or have—e-mail accounts anymore?

I just need to know how much time I need to invest in learning the symbol keys on my circa 1998 Verizon Samsung.