CONCEPTS

What is email?

We explain everything about email, its history, types, advantages and disadvantages. In addition, the parts of an email.

  1. What is email?

E-mail or e-mail (taken from English electronic mail ) is a means of digital written communication , similar to the letters and postcards of the postal mail of yesteryear, which takes advantage of the multimedia technology of the Internet for sending delayed messages more or less long and with or without attachments, between two or more different partners.

Email was for a long time the standard form of communication between Internet users . Even today it occupies a privileged role, especially when transmitting additional information (attachments of various types) that does not require immediate attention.

The latter distinguishes email from instant messaging and other telecommunications 2.0, which privileges immediacy and simultaneity. It should be noted that the term is used both to name the medium, as the message itself; That is why we usually say that “ we will send an email ”.

Although emails have been relegated in recent years to the workplace and corporate, it is estimated that about 144,000 million emails are sent daily in the world .

    1. Email History

ray-tomlinson-inventor-email-email
Ray Tomlinson implemented the first email system.

The most important antecedent of what we understand today as email came in 1962, with the IBM 7090 computer , which allowed the interaction of different users from remote terminals, which could exchange messages.

However, in 1965, the MAIL service, a true precursor of email , emerged , which allowed the sending and receiving of messages among the users of this computer.

Ray Tomlinson was the creator of the current email . He created the first experimental protocol for the exchange of information between machines connected to the same network: CYPNET. It was also he who introduced the arroba (@) as a marker symbol to distinguish in the email addresses between the username and the name of the service.

With the arrival and massification of the Internet, obviously, email became a popular and everyday tool. It was offered for free for the first time in 1971 and in 1977 it was already the mechanism for exchanging standard information worldwide in online communities .

  1. Types of email

Email works, in general, in the same way regardless of your specific goals. However, according to its use, we can talk about:

  • Personal email . Those held by individuals, and that obey their particular interests, that is, private and personal use. The same person can have numerous personal email addresses and use them as they see fit.
  • Email corporate . Those that serve as a written link between the different departments or segments of a company , corporation or organization, and which can usually be accessed only from workstations, corporate cell phones or through the use of a password that guarantees the secrecy of the information handled.
  • Email institutional . Those who represent the totality of a company, organization or institution of any kind, serving as a communicative bridge between the organization and its clientele , that is, between inside and outside of it.
  1. How does email work?

In principle, email works in a manner very similar to that of postal mail , which is why it is used as a reference for its operation. This goes from the name of things (messages are considered “letters” and are often represented as envelopes; inboxes are called “mailboxes”, etc.) until they work.

For its part, the latter could not be simpler: a user A writes a user B a message that tells something. If you wish, it is also possible to include some relevant photographs, audio or video files , which your computer contains.

Moments later, the mail from user B receives the letter and, eventually, reads and downloads the photographs on his own computer. Then, you can write a response to user A, returning their impressions and, if you wish, send attached material that you consider. This process may be repeated as many times as they wish, and is not necessarily taken in strict turns.

  1. Parts of an email

spam email
Email services often identify and filter spam.

Usually, an email consists of:

  • Inbox . The virtual space where the received messages rest, according to a chronological or personalized order, either in general or organized in folders.
  • Outbox . Similarly, the messages to be sent rest in this virtual space, before being classified as “sent”.
  • Sent folder . Where is the history of letters and documents sent, organized chronologically.
  • Spam . This name is called spam, usually with advertising or misleading promotions, which is usually filtered from the “legal” content of the mailbox.
  • Recipient . The email address of the person to whom the email will be sent.
  • Subject . Space for a brief description of the content of the message, as an opening, that the recipient can read without having to open the email at all.
  • Message body . The written information to be transmitted.
  • Attachments . The additional data to be transmitted along with the message, as annexes.
  • CC / CCO . Acronym for Carbon Copy and Hidden Carbon Copy , allow the sender to send an identical copy to a third user , either visibly for everyone (cc), or invisible mode (cco).
  1. Email Advantages

The advantages of email compared to other written communication formats are:

  • Speed . The data is transmitted almost immediately and the risk of loss of information is minimal.
  • Security . This is a debated topic (in general it is Internet privacy), but generally email providers use powerful encryption mechanisms to shield the data of their third-party users and information thieves.
  • Attachments . While there are computer limits for the size of the attached computer files that can be attached to an email, they are often large enough to send most of the personal documents you wish to share.
  • Versatility . Our email may be used as we wish, within a certain framework of legal and procedural regulations.
  • Low cost . Almost all email services today are completely free.
  • Ecological . It does not use real paper and therefore does not produce waste, nor does it consume physical resources (beyond the electricity necessary for Internet access).
  • Global . We can check our email anywhere in the globe, and send and receive messages from anyone in any corner of the planet.
  1. Disadvantages of email

For its part, email has the following disadvantages compared to other messaging modes:

  • Lack of interactivity . Unlike chats and instant messaging services, emails should be read one at a time.
  • It is relatively vulnerable . E-mail is a source of evidence that hackers and computer viruses can eventually access, for which they create emails and other forms of deception to access the information of a careless user.
  • You need internet . In conditions of poor connectivity or countries with low Internet penetration, email is not a good option.
  • You need some electronic device . To access the email we must have a computer , smartphone or tablet, which also means having electricity.

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