When it first appeared, one of the truly amazing things about the internet was e-mail. Instantly gone were the days when you had to write a letter, put it in an envelope, and take it to the mail box or post office. Instead, you could just type your thoughts into a field, hit send, and possibly get a reply back in minutes…or even seconds! Instant connection, instant information, and instant answers were huge selling points for the internet and led many people to add it to their lives.
Fast forward 20+ years and e-mail seems almost quaint. Yes, it is still being used to a large extent, but it seems inevitable that something more advanced will come along. There are also security issues; Democratic Party’s hacked email accounts may have cost them the last election.
Instant messaging seems to have taken away some of e-mail’s appeal. You can send the same information and much the same content with IM-ing and just as quickly. If you want to have a simple exchange with someone, IM-ing accomplishes that without the clutter of e-mail. This form still seems to be the province of younger users; older people use e-mail more often.
E-mail does still have some advantages. Need to find a message that someone sent you a while back? You will have a much easier time doing that than trying to find an old instant message.
In the security department, there are effective encryption formats for e-mail that can withstand most hacking attacks. People just need to remember to use them.
E-mail is a popular and effective way to do online marketing. Although some countries have enacted anti-spam legislation, e-mail continues to be a fast and effective way for businesses to reach out to and stay in touch with consumers.
For many people, e-mail also remains the most personal form of electronic communication.