Electronic mail is simply a way of transacting information between individuals using electronic mail devices. Electronic mail entered limited use into the 1960s, when computers first began to be used in business, but only users could send messages to each other on the same machine, and some early electronic mail systems required both the sender and the receiver to be on the same computer at the same time, like instant messaging. Advances to email technology have dramatically expanded the scope of what can be sent with email. In fact, it is now possible to get an answer to any question you may have from anywhere in the world thanks to new electronic mail services like Yahoo answers and Aweber. Email has become an invaluable tool for communication and research, and there are still many ways it can be abused.
Electronic mail has been around since the beginning of email, when mail was first transmitted through postal mail. Mail is still a valuable way of keeping in touch, even though most email messages are simple text messages or HTML pages that can be read on computers and other electronic devices, not on a plain paper reading device such as a fax machine or a paper book. Many people are accustomed to checking their email on their computer screen, where they can see all the latest emails. Emails have many uses, from staying connected with friends and family, scheduling appointments and events, checking the weather, checking the stock in the stores, and many other uses. The importance of email as a form of communication cannot be underestimated and has helped create many new business opportunities. Email has now become an important part of the way we do business.
Electronic mail was very limited in its use, mostly for communication of information. Electronic mail first entered popular use in the 1960s, when mail was first transmitted by electronic means. Since then, email has become increasingly common, used in every sphere of business and personal communication. Even in its current form, email still has a lot of potential for expanding the range of communication.
The first email message was a simple message sent by cryptologist cryptography to identify and encrypt a secret message (the NSA is famous for cracking many of these encryptions). Email, however, has evolved into much more powerful technology than that one simple encryption. For instance, one popular service, Gmail, allows the user to create and store an unlimited number of mailboxes, each linked to a unique Gmail account. This means that any email that goes out to a Gmail account can be immediately read by anyone who has access to the right kind of internet connection.
However, although Gmail stores your email messages in a highly secure online database, the way you type in your messages can give away your entire plan to a third party. For example, if you use your keyboard’s arrow keys to move through the various options in an email client like Microsoft Outlook, chances are good that a hacker with malicious intent can already have read your email and found all of your email conversations before you even get around to typing out your response. To protect yourself, use a password manager to turn off the auto-filled email fields when you’re not using the computer or you use one account per computer that you use. If you often send large files through email, ensure that you shred any attachments before you save them to a hard drive, or else you may risk having your entire email sent to the wrong person, ruining what was supposed to be a professional email. Also, never click on a link contained in an email message from someone you don’t know, as many people do.
While a majority of people discard their electronic mail with little or no trouble, you should also exercise caution with what you permit others to see or receive. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to delete or hide emails containing sensitive information like credit card numbers or bank account information. But there are instances where someone is willing to take a little bit of time to break into your email account and grab these documents, putting you at risk for identity theft. And if you don’t want anyone to know what you’re doing, set up an electronic address book that only you and your trusted contacts will be able to access.
Another thing you should keep in mind is the difference between work and private electronic mail. Many companies send employees email messages for work-related purposes, such as company updates or memos. However, in most cases, these types of emails are meant to be read at work. To safeguard yourself, always mark the message as “personal” or “work only.” And never reply to a work email with a personal email, even if you might genuinely think it’s supposed to be something personal.
The other major concern regarding what is email is the danger of large-scale, sophisticated spammers mining through electronic mail and pulling financial information from your accounts. Most large email services have some sort of protection against this type of attack, which prevents the accounts from being compromised. However, many smaller services have no such protection, leaving you vulnerable to attacks from scam artists. It’s always best to check your incoming messages first, so that you can make sure they aren’t going to some sort of malicious third party.
What is email is a tricky topic, one that’s impossible to completely answer. What’s clear is that having a regular inbox makes it easier to manage, as you don’t have to constantly be wondering about which messages you should delete or which ones should you forward. And having your private and business email separate is also a good practice, keeping your personal life from distracting you from your work. But the bottom line is that what is email really depends on who is using it, how you use it and who you’re inviting to your electronic mailbox.