Growing evidence for preference of multi-channel(multi-modal) communication among the young ?

I am trying to find evidence for preference for multichannel/multi modal communication among the young .. By ‘multi channel communication’ I do not mean it in the marketing sense i.e. the ability to send communications to people (advertisements). I mean this more in the communications sense among people(especially younger people) independent of marketing -

For example: The initial contact is made through a voice mail but the response is via IM(chat). Or initial contact is made by email – response is by twitter etc

A recent paper called Evolving mobile communication practices of Irish teenagers addresses this question. One of the goals of this paper is to investigate how the teenagers’ adoption of recently emergent Web 2.0 applications (social-networking web sites and instant messaging services) tends to bring about a re-positioning of the mobile phone’s role as a communications channel.

Their findings suggest that the teenagers’ relationship to the mobile phone is evolving as newer communications applications emerge. In particular, the technical competencies and media literacies necessary for multi-model communication are evolving fastest where locational and socio-economic conditions are most favourable i.e. small groups of teenagers were adopting multi-modal/ Web 2.0 communications paradigms where locational and, especially, socio-economic conditions were most favourable, ex: middle-class urban teens with good family income etc

The paper argues that, despite universal ownership of the technological device among the sample of teenagers, the mobile phone is caught up in wider digital and socio-economic divides.

I have been saying this for a long time .. i.e. ‘mobile’ is a part of a multimodal communication – especially among the youth and consequently a single mode of communication is a myth especially amongst younger people. (Mobile Youth is a myth)

To me, a multimodal communication would include many channels with integrated communications both in synchronous and non synchronous modes – ex facebook, IM, Twitter, Skype, SMS, Voice are holistic and multimodal – especially going forward.

I also believe that Operators are adopting this trend – for example with Vodafone 360.

While still not publicised well, Vodafone 360 FAQ just says that ‘Vodafone 360 is available to customers on 247 mobile networks in more than 60 countries.’ but not much else.

Same with the Orange On – but these can be used to indicate that the trends are changing to a converged mode of communication from mobile devices

Is there any other research that points to this trend?


  1. Although I have been looking at all forms of communication contact from a business perspective, I have always viewed mobility as a prime driver for flexibility of choice. this is because when a person is mobile, there is no guarantee that they may be able to look, type, talk or listen at any point in time.
    If the contact is time sensitive, the user will choose what they are able to do at that moment, rather than wait until later. That means choosing some form of messaging or “click-to-call” if the recipient appears to be both accessible and “available” (presence status).
    We are only now starting to see that voice conversations (phone calles) can be more efficiently initiated as an alternative to texting. Further, we are also seeing voice messages (which are easier to create) being automatically transcribed into tex, which is faster to read and navigate. All of this “transmodality’ is beinging facilitated by multimodal mobile “smartphones.”
    So, the bottom line is that the future is starting to evolve and shouldn’t be measured yet from either a consumer social or business perspective.

  2. Ajit Jaokar says:

    Thanks Art
    Re: So, the bottom line is that the future is starting to evolve and shouldn’t be measured yet from either a consumer social or business perspective.
    I think while the future is not with the consumers yet – the trends are clear. I agree not easy to measure(and thats why I was looking at papers as opposed to books etc) but its certainly an area of research which I am tracking many thanks kind rgds Ajit