Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Postal Service is not culturally relevant to college students.

Every year Beloit College issues a Mindset List which identifies the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall.   The list was originally created to keep professors from using dated references.  So how relevant is the Postal Service to the those born in 1992 and now entering college as Freshman?

As the website notes:

The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since "digital" has always been in the cultural DNA, they've never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat. 

Nonetheless, they plan to enjoy college. The males among them are likely to be a minority. They will be armed with iPhones and BlackBerries, on which making a phone call will be only one of many, many functions they will perform. They will now be awash with a computerized technology that will not distinguish information and knowledge.

Specific Items Relating to Mail and Competitive Technologies

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

31. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.

44. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

62. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.

69. The Post Office has always been going broke.

It would not be hard to add some more to this list that are specific to mail.  Here are some ideas.
  1. Balancing a checkbook is done online.
  2. Checking accounts do not necessarily have printed checks.
  3. DVD's could always be received by mail
  4. Paychecks and government checks are only direct deposited.
  5. Taxes are filed online.
  6. FedEx has always offered both express and ground parcel delivery.
  7. Letter mail always had a barcode on it
 Add your own as a comment to this post.

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