The Evolution of Email



Most of us who were alive spent the 1960’s listening to The Beatles, exploring the fruits of life and revolting against the ill-conceived methods of war overseas. The numerous tech geeks alive in that era, however, were tinkering with new types of communication technology called ‘electronic mailing’, the concept of sending packets of information across computers that would end up being files on the other side in which one could append ‘Hi Jim’ as the file name. Initially explored by MIT tech studs, this concept spread like wildfire across MIT and other Mid-Eastern colleges and eventually evolved into a system where messages could be sent embedded in file names.

Strangely enough, the first initial email message was sent between two computers stationed next to each other, enough to strike wonderment into the minds of computer gurus abroad. Much like anything good, however, bad came along with open computer connections; the first adverse message that struck outrage came in 1978, dubbing the message as terrible as that handy canned meat made famous by Monty Python skits – SPAM. Although the perception of mass message sending wasn’t initially great, it managed to harness sales. Finally, when MCI got a hold of this concept, it began to offer customers what we now know as e-mail. The boom that erupted across corporate America from that 1983 MCI offering was nothing short of pandemonium and continued to trickle across the world.

Aside from MCI and other premium services, email became the new free trend to discuss private matters that telegrams and snail mail normally covered. Companies began to take advantage of this technology by offering advertisements which corresponded with a ‘call to action’ such as visiting a store or calling a number; finally, when websites became prevalent, companies could send pictorial messages with live linkage to visit a storefront. Again, though, the monstrosity we know as SPAM became an issue with illegal Nigerian scams, or the ‘409 scam’, taking over the world which bilked thousands of innocent email viewers out of millions of dollars. The newly perfected email hype was potentially due for some much needed facelifts which was brought upon when software installed on servers could detect these messages sent from IP’s and eradicate them. Currently most SPAM stoppers are so intricate that specific verbiage can be detected as commercial advertisements then immediately deleted.

Today, literally a quarter of the free world emails daily, ranging from sending hellos to ads for hairdryers. Social media now participates in emailing, allowing their social platforms to accept instant messages and email to each member. The only question that remains a mystery is quickly being answered by our U.S. Postal Service: will email marketing continue to evolve and take over the world? With many post offices shutting down or conglomerating, the answer seems self-contained. No matter what the future of electronic mailing communication brings the world, there will always be something neat behind it. Shortly behind it will be the next evolution in getting the message across, like video emailing or perhaps just reaching out and touching someone – except this time, literally.

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