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Jahnvi Singh Parihar
Communication Skills, Educational Technology & Operations Expert
Asked a question last year

What is an e- mail?

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Jahnvi Singh Parihar
Communication Skills, Educational Technology & Operations Expert

 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.
Manonita Rathore
Gig economy and behaviour &soft skills Expert

Email (electronic mail) is the exchange of computer-stored messages by telecommunication. Email messages are usually encoded in American Standard Code for Information Interchange  text. However, you can also send nontext files -- such as graphic images and sound files -- as attachments sent in binary streams. Email was one of the first activities performed over the internet and is still the most popular use. A large percentage of the total traffic over the internet is email. Email can also be exchanged between online service provider users and in networks other than the internet, both public and private.

Email can be distributed to lists of people, as well as to individuals. A shared distributor list can be managed by using an email reflector . Some mailing lists enable you to subscribe by sending a request to the mailing list administrator. A mailing list that is administered automatically is called a list server.

Email is one of the protocols included with the Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol  suite of protocols. A popular protocol for sending email is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol , and a popular protocol for receiving it is Post Office Protocol 3 .