Despite research like Hu's, it's a common complaint that the use of products like Snapchat, Venmo, and other technologies have created communication breakdowns called "micro-generation" gaps.
"In general, many people in their 40s, 50, 60s and beyond—people who grew up before the era of electronic communication—find young employees to be overly informal and inadequately respectful of the relatively higher social ranking of more senior employees," said Monique Valcour, an executive coach.
"Of course, this set of perceptions is nothing new; older people have been finding young people inadequately respectful for centuries. But .... we are at a unique point in the evolution of communication technology," she added.
Indeed, over the past five years, the salutation "sincerely," seems to have lost its sanctity. Messages are now met by a wall of emojis, GIFs, ironic uses of "literally" or "the struggle is real", and the ever incomprehensible reply: "No worries." All workers—millennials and non-millennials—report higher engagement at work when their managers take things offline and meet in-person, a Gallup poll found.
It comes as instant messaging for internal communication is being heralded as the future of work. In a 2012 report by McKinsey Global Institute, social technologies can raise the productivity of workers by 20 to 25 percent. More recently, forty six percent of working adults found digital tools made them more productive, and only 7 percent felt less productive, the Pew Research Center found in 2014.
That enthusiasm has translated into big dollars for the sector. In 2012, "enterprise social" company Yammer was acquired by Microsoft, while rival Slack found itself sitting on a $1 billion valuation.