WHEN did you last receive a letter in your mailbox?
Some households have completely removed the mailbox. Do you remember life before email?
If you were born after 1995, that’s probably not the case.
It’s now hard to imagine a time when a fax machine was considered the height of sophistication or a pager was the only way to reach someone when they weren’t in the office.
Due to technology, letter writing may have declined dramatically around the world over the years, but billions of people are participating in writing in electronic form like never before, says email inventor VA Shiva Ayyadurai.
Email has explosively supported the growth of letter writing globally. Today, unlike a few decades ago, when letter writing was reserved for the few who could afford an education, billions of people are now writing letters in electronic form.
We can argue about the quality of the writing, but more people participate in the writing.
In 1978, Ayyadurai invented the world’s first electronic mail system at the age of 14 and obtained the first American copyright for “email”. He thinks people tend to confuse email with simply exchanging short text messages, such as SMS, SMS, chat or Twitter, saying these have “destroyed” letter writing.
“E-mail is not the simple exchange of SMS. Email is the electronic version of the internal mail system used for formal communication of letters or notes,” he said.
“It’s clear that texting, texting and chatting is very different from writing a letter or an email. In fact, I believe what’s happening is that the people realize that you are using short messages, like texting, texting, chatting, Twitteretc for quick informal messages, and you use email for writing more intimate and formal letters.
“In that sense, email is the preferred medium for ‘letter writing’, and if anything, texting and chat kill ‘letter writing’. E-mail did exactly what I predicted back in 1978; it took over the postal mail process and the letter writing system.
Mumbai-born Ayyadurai has published a book The Email Revolution: Unleashing the Power to Connect, published by Allworth Press, in which he shows how organizations can realize the endless potential of email to empower their brands and reach their audiences in incredible ways. creative.
According to the author, email was designed for formal business communication, and as long as we are involved in business, email will be there.
When he created the first email, he saw its true value.
“The system as a service, which could automate all paper-based mail management activities in the office environment by providing inbox, outbox, folders, address book, attachments, sorting, archiving, etc. to electronically emulate the interoffice mail system – the email we all use today,” says Ayyadurai.
He realized that email, if widely adopted, beyond its economic and productivity value, would also have immense social implications.
“That’s why I also said at the time that e-mail would change the way we communicate, our attitudes and our styles. Today, e-mail has become a legal means, for example, and in communications corporate, in particular, people should be more aware of what they are putting into email communications, as it is very different from informal communications such as SMS, chat or SMS,” Ayyadurai says.
He regrets, however, that the United States Postal Service in 1997 ignored his advice and embraced email, becoming a provider of an email service such as Gmail or Hotmail. ”
Such a move would have positioned them and other postal services around the world for the future, because at that time most postal services around the world were looking to the US Postal Service for new innovations,” he says.
Ayyadurai, who managed Clinton administration emails and created email sorting software used by companies like Nike, AT&T and Toyota, is angry at “so-called experts” who, since the 1990s, say “e-mail is dead”. ”.
“When the chat came in the early 1990s, they said ‘Email is Dead’; when the text messages arrived, they said “Email is Dead”; and when Facebook came along, Zuckerberg said “email is dead.” They all confused short messaging and community messaging with formal messaging. Email is not an SMS. Email is not a Facebook post,” he says.
Ayyadurai emphasizes that email is here to stay.
“I’m confident because I know what email is and isn’t, having invented it. And, more importantly, as a media researcher and as a systems biologist, I believe that we humans are wired to seek out and engage in three different types of messaging modes: short messaging, community messaging, [and] Formal messaging,” he says.
Ayyadurai thinks another smart kid can definitely create another more convenient mode of communication.
“I think there’s a bunch of kids out there, given the right ecosystem, they’ll create things we never dreamed of before or thought ‘impossible’ – think telepathic communication device – for example – much better than typing all day,” he hopes.
Email has had a profound impact on society through the way humans communicate. It drastically reduced the use of traditional mail.
For example, more and more people are receiving all invoices and payments that used to be sent by traditional mail, now delivered “paperless” via email.
Email addresses have become the standard way to identify yourself online.
Think about it, it’s usually the first piece of information you give to a new acquaintance or company.
Think of all the things you need an email address for. Try setting up a instagram account, order something online or apply for a job without an account.
Chances are you won’t get very far.
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- Mutisi is the CEO of Hansole Investments (Pvt) Ltd. He is the current Chairman of Zimbabwe Information & Communication Technology, a division of Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers.