Email, short for "electronic mail," is one of the most widely used features of the Internet, along with the web. It allows you to send and receive messages to and from anyone with an email address, anywhere in the world. Email uses multiple protocols within the TCP/IP suite.
Despite all the methods of communication email is still popular and has become as necessary as a phone number or mailing address. Similar to calling somebody, email has become a standard mode of communication with the expectation being that everybody should have an email address. Email started out as a simple communication tool but is now used for much more than that.
In many ways, email has made my life easier. It allows me to:
- Contact people all over the world for free (or inexpensively)
- Communicate with more than one person at a time
- Document interactions (e.g. the highly prized CYA paper-trail)
- Leave messages any time of day without bothering people
It was only when people started using it in alternative ways that things started to get messy, really messy. Instead of looking for a different model email kept evolving to meet new demands and expectations such as:
- Working collaboratively
- Sending attachments
- Keeping a conversation together for multiple people(e.g. thread)
- Searching capabilities
- Automating actions with rules
- Integrating calendars and appointments, etc.