Electronic mail – E-mail, Email, e-mail or email – is the exchange of digital messages operating across computer networks, primarily the Internet today, between individuals or groups of people. The earliest use of digital messages began in 1960s and a decade later it had taken on the more recognizable form known as email.
However, the origin of the term ’email’ is rather quirky; any electronic document transmission in the early days was broadly called electronic mail – e.g. a facsimile transmission. Hence, it is rather difficult to find the use of the term with regard to a first citation or reference.
Electronic mail is a widely used electronic communication method for personal communication as well as for business purposes. It is an extremely powerful tool that is capable of delivering messages instantaneously to any part of the world and is accessible from anywhere in the world with the use of an electronic device and an Internet connection. Email can consist of not only text, but images and pictures, document attachments, links to other important material as reference etc.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of email.
The first benefit that comes to mind is the ‘ease of communication’ without depending on a postal or mail service to transmit messages.
Secondly, there is the ‘cost factor’ which is little or nothing. There isn’t the need for postage and stamps and email messages are communicated instantly.
It is the best communication form to reach someone who does not have access to a telephone or other message receiving system. In addition, it is also the easiest way to reach a group or groups of people at one go.
Sharing of important and extremely crucial data for business and corporate purposes is absolutely simplified by email.
Among the disadvantages, the main grouse is the fact that emails are stiff and impersonal lacking the ‘personal touch’. A phone call or a text message is more casual and friendly. Where letter writing was considered an art earlier, email communication includes abbreviations and short forms that sometimes say the very least about the sender’s communicative abilities.
Senders and receivers require access to the Internet. In many parts of the world even today, there are thousands of people without access to the Internet.
Viruses are another discouraging factor as they are spread easily through email attachments without a proper anti-virus or email filtering technology in place.
Unless a receiver is constantly logged on to an email system, important and urgent messages can go unchecked for days.
Unsolicited email such as advertisements and promotional emails, junk etc. can clog email accounts and be a huge nuisance factor.
Notwithstanding these, there is simply no doubt at all that email offers an excellent communication process for managing correspondence, work schedules in different locations and time zones without being confined to a physical location, and accomplish larger amounts of work especially for business houses.
Recently, email has been in the news for some wrong reasons going by the amount of publicity it has received in the upcoming US Presidential elections. Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and likely Democratic Party nominee for the post of President has been facing a lot of flak for using a private email server while she was holding a powerful position in the US government.
At the core, the investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation will definitely raise a lot of questions surrounding the exchange of vital and crucial information pertaining to the government and how this can affect the security while also showing the fragility of the information structure.
As Paul Babicki said, “There are no secrets on the Internet”. He also said, “The smartest people can write the worst emails and those with less intellect can write the best”.