prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Happy birthday email!

Posted by prof e on September 4, 2011

You may be surprised to learn that it has been 29 years (and a few days) since email was copyrighted by then 16-year-old V. A. Shiva. While the growth of SMS (text messaging) and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have taken some of the traffic that might otherwise have gone to email, Shiva is confident that email will continue to be a significant form of electronic communication for some time.

Current estimates are that approximately 300 billion email messages are sent daily, and about 90% of those are spam. Fortunately for us spam filters delete most of the unwanted email messages before we have to deal with them.

For more information about the history of email and current statistics about users, see the article and info-graphic here.

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29 Responses to “Happy birthday email!”

  1. I was not at all surprised to hear that 90% of e-mails are spam. As useful as e-mail is, spam ruins a lot of its appeal. Shiva is right in saying that e-mail will stay very important, especially if advances in e-mail like spam filters, keep coming.

  2. K. Williams said

    I think it’s interesting that 90% of email is spam; I think that’s more than the junk snail-mail that I get. I’m not so certain that I can say that e-mail will stay with us given the sheer number of options for electronic communication. What’s in use now might not be in the near future. VHS certainly didn’t stay with us. However, I wouldn’t be surpised to see e-mail influence future communication options.

  3. Austin Morelli said

    Email is a great invention and I did not know that a 16 year old girl started it. I do not know where the world would be without email. In my opinion, Email was the first internet social media website because you were able to send messenges to your friends, business associates, and family members. I think email kind of kick started myspace and facebook becuase they both have the same concept. However, Facebook has dominated the social media outlet, but it still involves email because you need an email address to sign up. I think email will be around with us for long time but will eventually fade away like other technology.

  4. M. Williamson said

    I for one had no idea that e-mail was created by a 16 year and that its that old. As far as 90% being spam from looking at my inbox that’s exactly how it looks and because of this I often slack when it comes to checking it. I too would have to agree in saying that e-mail lead to the whole social networking age.

  5. jrmcclain said

    This is such a great article…..email has done what the post office could never do…..find a way for people to stay in close contact by writing to each other! Writing to others was almost a lost art and the post office will tell you that the majority of their business was junk mail. A very interesting item is that right about the same time that this article came out, the post office was testifying in front of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs pleading with Congress to help financially or they will be bankrupt at the end of this month. The main reason they are becoming insolvent is because their business model is so restrictive that they cannot keep up with the changing marketplace (http://www.aircargoworld.com/Air-Cargo-News/2011/09/u-s-postal-service-faces-insolvency-without-bailout/071885). Wow !

  6. Alvarez,T. said

    It’s very interesting and definitely unique to know that a sixteen year old created and copyrighted email. Although Shiva still believes that email will still be one of the leading forms of communication, I still believe that it probably won’t be as prodominent as it is. In my opinion the advancement of technology will still continue to the point that email will not be as popular. Even though it does well for the elder community because of its simplicity, it is easier for people now to communicate via text, facebook, twitter and other social networking sights. Maybe the email will still be very well around 10 years from now but unless technology slows down the rate of advacing technology for communication, I don’t believe it will be as prodominent.

  7. Rob Lee said

    Its cool that Email is now 29 years old. Life these days couldn’t go without the Internet and Email. I thoughts its crazy that 300 billion emails are sent daily; I feel that 90 percent of most emails are spam is correct, and know that from my own email inbox as well.

  8. Alexandra Richardson said

    Emails are conventional in a professional environment it’s not like the CEO of apple is going to talk business over Facebook messages or sms. Emails will continue to be around for the sake of communication in professional settings not necessarily for the sake of ease or desire but just because its whats around and whats appropriate.

  9. Dakota Mason said

    It is very interesting to find out that email was started by a 16 year old. Also it is very fascinating that 90 percent of the emails we get are spam. I find this very disturbing. If we wanted to get mail from these spam senders, we would subrscribe to them. It gets to be a hassle but this is how most companies reach out to the world whether we like it or not.

  10. Courtney Tafoya said

    90% of e-mail is spam? i find that so ridiculous. if it weren’t for all my personal life stuff requiring my e-mail adress, i would probably delete mine. although, facebook and twitter are the most used communication sites, e-mail will always be around. kudos to the 16 year old who came up with e-mail!

  11. Justin Haddan said

    The fact the e-mail is 29 years old and still relevent is amazing. The way technology is advancing I didn’t think that it would still be used so frequently. 29 years is a long time for something to still be used frequently. For example the progression of VHS to DVD to BluRay didn’t take that long for some of these to become obsolete. it is also cool that a 16 year old kid invented some thing that is used daily. As for 90% of e-mail being spam it is true. It is very annoying but it can be an effective maketing stategy.

  12. Carl said

    It’s amazing how long email has stuck around, 29 years and counting! Even with instant messaging and social networking websites, it’s still a major form of communication. It’s actually sort of like using a phone when you think about it, the telephone has been around for so many years and even with texting and other forms of communication, it’s still a major way to contact someone. The fact that a 16 year old kid was the inventor of email is astounding! He must have been a child prodigy. The 90% of spam seems a little bit of a highball estimate, unless it’s including emails that people actually had to subscribe to in order to get. I would have guessed more around 70%

  13. Justin Shalinsky said

    It’s hard to believe that email is 29 years old. I didn’t think E-mail was around for that long and it is pretty crazy to believe that it is still around today. Even though email isn’t used as much as it used to it is still a pretty big deal. The 90 percent spam doesn’t surprise me considering when I actually check my email that is the only mail I get. With Facebook and Twitter taking over the social networking it is hard to believe that email will still be used well into the future. However, I believe email is still a great invention and has really helped people connect with each other across vast distances, even today.

  14. Joseph D. Devendorf said

    Wow! A 16 yr. old created the email?! That in itself is impressive. How can anyone of his friends really top that story back then? It’s like “Oh, you were playing pong? I invented email!”

    29 years ago? I never would have guessed that it’s been around that long. People say it’s not used that much now, but they’re only thinking about their generation. I check my email once a day, my mom, sometimes twice a day, but my dad’s constantly checking his email and it’s always important stuff in his line of work. To the generation before us email’s as important (but not quite as addicting) to them as social networking sites are to us. Plus without email, how would you be able access your precious sites? They require email and password to log in. So it’s just as important to this generation too.

    On the fact that 90% of emails are spam… I completely agree and that that spam is usually a virus. If you get an email with an attachment from someone you don’t know… You probably shouldn’t open it.

  15. Lyric Hassler said

    Email is one of the most greatest innovations. It has opened so many doors to so many online ways of communicating. Since then, there has been so many new social outlets that have been created because of this sixteen year old. It is quite surprising to me that someone at such a young age created such a revolution, it’s remarkable. Today, where would we be without it? This fast pace world simply cannot function without email. It is crazy to even say but this has realistically become a necessity.

  16. Ian Walker said

    It’s sort of mind-blowing that email has been around for nearly three decades. When I first became aware of email (approximately ten years ago), it was a huge deal when you got an email. Regular mail seemed dull and ordinary, but when you went on your dial-up connection, opened your inbox and saw an unread message, it made your day. It was pretty much the cutting edge of cool (“Hey, look at this picture my friend sent me, it’s a baby that DANCES”).

    Funnily enough, now email is the norm, and people have multiple accounts, and receive emails on almost a daily basis. It seems as if when you get a hand-written note in the regular mail, you think that’s the coolest thing ever, while emails are ‘meh’.

    Despite this, I agree with Mr. Shiva. Email will continue to be a large part of everyday life, and will probably not be going anywhere anytime soon.

  17. Aron Harris said

    With the growth of texting and all the social sites latetly, i believe that email will die out in the next few decades. Even with 90% of emails being spam that should show that email technolgy is coming close to being obsolete. Newer technology will arrive.

  18. Quayshaun Coleman said

    Its pretty funny that a 16 year old pulled something like this off. It make you wonder what is everyone learned how to use technology like this how much more spam we would recieve on a daily. It is pretty shocking however, that the majority of emails we recieve are spam. Its like do we really just create emails to get all the extra emails that truly may not help us in any way?

  19. Raeanna Vasquez said

    Email will eventually fade out. It is not as popular as it was when it first came out. Facebook and twitter have made it easier on most people to say send a quick letter sayin hey whats up.

  20. Kenneth Martinez said

    Email these days is more of a professional or corporate thing. Most people don’t email their buddies to see if they want to hang tonight. It’s usually just professional or corporate, but that’s only 10%. It’s crazy that 90% of emails are spam. That is probably the main reason most people don’t use it on a daily basis, but that’s not as crazy as a 16 year old creating this technology. That was one smart kid.

  21. Ryne Neal said

    It’s amazing to hear that someone so young at the time created email, and crazy that it’s been around that long already. I know that email has been a huge deal in my life when it comes to staying connected with friends, teachers/professors, and others. Email has saved my butt at times too, like when I forget an assignment, have a question for the teacher, confused on something, or even going to be/am absent for class to find out whats going on. The amount of spam in email sent out per day doesn’t really surprise me just know the fact of how much spam ads/fake ads are on or sent out on the internet per day. It’s just really annoying, but like you said, thankfully there are spam filters which I rely on daily to weave out and keep separate everything important or from people I know for me. Saves a lot of time too compared to “snail-mail” Happy Birthday Email!

  22. Viola Vineyard said

    Email: what once was the fast way to get someone a message is now seen as not really the best way to communicate with people. The fact that someone so young came up wtih something so vital to the begining of technological advances in communication is astonishing. Now that there are so many other ways for people to communicate, email isnt really the most popular. Although it isnt the slowest way to communicate with people either. 29 years, it doesnt even seem like it has been that long, but it just goes to show you how quickly time passes and how media has grown over the years.

  23. Deontrae Cooper said

    who would have thought that e mail is this old…it seems like its been around juss a couple of years. i say this because my parents dont have a clue what an e mail is…most of the mail composed in an e mail is spam. what would be the point of making one?

  24. Brandyn b said

    Email can do one thing that no other social networking site like facebook and twitter can do. Although all three allow you to connet with people via messages, email can also be used as a storage unit. I use email all of the time to email my self important documents so i can access them elsewhere. 29 years ago it changed the way people would connect for ever. I will forever use email as its really cannot be replaced by anything. What about you guys, do you use email for something that can be done with anything else?

  25. Tyler Stone said

    Email was the huge invention that made myspace, facebook, twitter and text messaging concievable. To find out that it is over 29 years old blows my mind and the fact that a 16 year old invented it is even more impressive. Growing up with the internet and email pretty much since I can remember (I’m 20) its hard to believe that a decade before I was born email wasn’t around. To this day email is still the prefferred and more professional way of contacting someone. So that’s deffinitely impressive that a 16 year old can think that far ahead and predict an invention that the world would use 30 years later.

  26. kginter5 said

    E-mail has changed the way us as a society operates and communicates. It changed the letter process of 5 – 7 days to being able to send and receive instantaneously which is incredible. This has become very popular in the working world, you can almost say if you were to take away e-mail right now there would be a lot of businesses that collapse or have a very hard time operating. The only thing that gets me is the 90% of the messages are spam. What do companies not understand that people do not read them and they are trashed instantly. That is the only thing I wish to see changed.

  27. Melissa G said

    Email was created to allow people to communicate with others in a split sec. It allows us to send info and pictures to distant family and friends, which seems like a pretty good idea. Some argue that email will soon die out and be replaced by social networks. I argue that the social networks will soon die out and we are left with email. The differences between the two are that email can be used as a private way to send info, which may include teachers, co-workers, and bosses and of course friends and family. I believe that I use my email a lot more than my facebook. My facebook is mainly used to share SOME pictures with my friends, mainly the ones that I’m tagged in, and create ongoing conversations with friends, family and sometimes strangers. Email is not the new technology being used at this time, but it is improved technology and will continue to improve if we allow it to. No matter what, the world seem to need some kind of way to conversate instantly.

  28. Deann Pantoya said

    Email was a great creation by Shiva. Email has changed people’s lives in so many ways. The one thing that email has probably done the most of is making it easier for two people to communicate. Email is used for family members to communicate with one another. Another popular place that email is used is in school. Students and teachers are constantly emailing each other to communicate information. And even though the usage of email may have went down a little bit from other forms of communication such as text massaging, Facebook, and Twitter I do believe that people will continue to use email for a long time. Clearly as of today email is very popular since 300 billion emails are sent every day. Even though 90% of those are spam, that is still a lot of emails sent in one day. Luckily for us there are spam filters out there that get rid of all of those unwanted emails that we don’t want to deal with.

  29. Vickie said

    Email really was a great “invention” and accomplishment and aids in so much of our daily tasks. Yes, although much of it is spam or those great coupons you can get online, it still has served a very important purpose. Without the initial idea of Email, social media outlets, messaging and other forms of these probably wouldn’t be possible. Email is used for any major company and even just messaging through particular websites require an email address for notifications and other such messages. It is a great way to keep up with people who have the internet but maybe not a Facebook account. One of the great things about this is all the storage space we have for our email accounts now! Saving papers all in one spot without having to use a jump drive is a great way to stay as organized as possible. Great things have come from Email.

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