A Guide to E-mail
An Introduction to Electronic Mail
Electronic mail - which is usually abbreviated to 'e-mail' or 'email' - is a popular digital messaging service. The history of E-mail predates the beginning of the Internet. The genesis of the Internet was ARPANET, a computer network linking major educational and government institutions in the early 1970's. E-mail was a core component of this network, and largely kept it's design format when ARPANET converted to the Internet in the 1980's.
The exact start date of E-mail is murky: it's been suggested it was around
1966, when MIT were developing CTSS. Without question, it was the ARPANET
computer network that contributed to the development and showcased E-mail.
E-mail first piggy backed on the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Eventually
stand alone protocols were developed for E-mail: such as IMAP, POP3, SMTP,
UUCP and X400. However, the key components of an E-mail have remained
the same, such as the message header and body. The abbreviated spelling
of electronic mail has led to a few variations,
Email: required by IETF Request for Comments.
Research has suggested that E-mail has changed the landscape of social relationships. One of the positive benefits of E-mail is in business: the expense of sending E-mail globally is tiny compared to other modes of communication. Therefore, contacting potential customers is cheaper than it once was.
The convenience of E-mail is another positive aspect of the technology. With different countries operating on various time zones, a telephone call may not be possible due to the time schedule of that nation. However, an E-mail can be held within a mailbox for the recipient to open at an appropriate time.
E-mail has had it's drawbacks. The overload of data can lead to frustration due to it's time consumption. E-mail is also abused by unscrupulous individuals. Unsolicited messages is one such abuse, attachments with viruses another. Spoofing/faking an E-mail address, and bombing an individual address with a large volume of E-mail's so that the account is closed down, are two more abuses.