• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Allie Roberts 12 years, 8 months ago

What is email?

Email stands for "electronic mail" and is currently one of the most popular services on the internet. Email is interesting because it can be sent to anyone in the world who has an email address. Messages are posted electronically to a specific person, much like postal mail. One interesting thing to note about email is that information, video clips, web pages, and pictures can be sent to an individual person, or to a group of people. This is something that would be confusing and difficult with regular postage mail. Email is automatic for both the sender and receiver. [5]


Mail Server





This video is a tutorial on how to use Microsoft Outlook Express.



  • Origin
  • Getting Started: Choosing an account and address
    Which e-mail program is best
  • How to use email and how to create a new e-mail address 

    Send and receiving messages

    You have mail!

  • Managing and organizing your email 


  • Feedback through email 

  • Uses in society

    Uses in businesses

  • Challenges against e-mail spamming and computer viruses

    Privacy concerns


Probably the first email system of this type was MAILBOX, used at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1965. [1] It quickly became a network e-mail allowing people to pass messages between two different computers.

Although early networking systems and the ARPANET had email systems, the roots of the commercial email we know today were first introduced to the public as proprietary services. Sending an email to friends meant that you had to subscribe to the same service and same software programs as your friend. The earliest pre-email connections were able to transmit only about 180 words a minute. [3]

Ray Tomlinson invented email in 1972. He worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman as an ARPANET contractor. His biggest thing was the @ symbol from the computer keybord to help send messages within two computers. [1]

Now with the World Wide Web (WWW), email is now user friendly and has providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail, and American Online. Some of these are with change and some without charge. Email now can be affordable to everyone. [1]


Getting Started

Choosing an account and address

There are three main types of accounts you may come across which as a POP3 account from you ISP, a webmail account, or an address based on your own domain name. [2]

A POP3 often referred to as Post Office Protocol 3, is often handled by a special mail program, such as Outlook Express or Apple Mail, as opposed to a Web browser such as Internet Explorer. It usually works as people send you email messages, which are temporarily stored on the server, which belongs to your ISP. When you next open your mail program and press the appropriate button, the computer accesses the ISP’s server and downloads all the messages, which then deletes them from the server. [2]

The Pros:
  • The email is stored onto your computer so you can easily open these when you are not connected to the internet.
  • You will not run out of space for new messages unless you have a full hard drive.
  • It makes it quick, easy to organize and filter, and to search an archive your messages. 
  • Allows you to access all your email, and contacts from any computer with a web browser.
  • Gives any details you like when signing up for a webmail account.
  • Does not tie you to your ISP.
  • They are usually free.
The Cons:
  • If you close your account with the ISP, you will lose the address.

         Webmail accounts work through the Web. You just simply log into a website to collect, write, and 
         send your mail. The messages are stored on a remote server until you delete them. [2] 

  • Things can be slow if you are using a poor connection.
  • If your internet connection is completely shut down, you will not be able to access your mail until it is back up and running again.
  • You are only allowed a specific amount of space, and once this space is used up, earliest messages will be deleted.

**Webmail accounts are everywhere and most of them are free. Some of the top webmail accounts include Microsoft’s Hotmail (which is the most popular), Yahoo!, or Google Mail (otherwise known as Gmail). [2]

Your own domain name allows you to register and keep your address forever, regardless of which ISP you use. These domains allow you to use if you ever want to make a website. [2]**


How to Use Email

Creating a new email:

To create a new email, begin by opening your mail program. On the toolbar, you will see a button or an icon that will either say New Message or Compose. When you click it, a blank message window will appear. You will see a line that says “To:” this is where you will put the recipient’s email address. Then you will see a line saying “Subject” this is where you will put the title for the message to the recipient. After doing these two steps, you can begin your text in the message body of the email window. Once you are finished, click the button that says "Send" and your message is off. [2]

You have mail!

Incoming mail will arrive in the Inbox. Messages that you haven’t read yet will be marked in a certain way. They will either be in bold and/or have a closed envelope symbol or dot next to them. Each mail folder will display a number telling you how many unread messages it contains. [2]


The most common way to send an email is the "reply to" message button. Simply just select a previous message someone has sent you and click on the Reply button. The best part about replying is that you can quote from the received email. Once you press the reply button, the previous messages will appear. [2]

Forwarding a message:

If you would like to share an email with someone, just simply click the "forward" button. Forwarding messages are somewhat like replies except the address to the original sender is not there. In this case, you will want to go through a contact list and pick the people you want to send a forward message to. [2]


Managing Your Mail

All email programs can organize your correspondence into mailboxes or folders. It is a good idea to use several folders for filing your mail. This way you will not create unwieldy, slow-to-open folders containing thousands of messages.


Sorting your messages can be by date, sender, size or subject. Sorting by date makes the most sense because you can instantly see what is most recent. [2]


Mail programs can filter incoming mail into designated folders as it arrives. They look for a common phrase in the newly arrived messages and transfer it somewhere other than the default inbox. Simply set your mail program to automatically put all incoming messages into separate folders according to whom they’re addressed to. [2]


Feedback through Email

Email is known to be a wonderful tool for delivering feedback to students. There is in fact little doubt that email is changing how we communicate and learn. In an investigation on the effectiveness of email as a communication and instructional aid between instructors and students, results were found indicating that "empirical evidence supporting the usefulness of email as a promising aid to promote student cognitive growth pertaining to computer knowledge and skills."[6] In fact, here are some advantages:

  • Faster assignment return and immediate feedback.
  • Greater perceived reliability
  • Increased interaction among other students
  • Extended learning experiences 
  • Positive internet experience 



In Society:

The most popular use of email in society is sending messages to email friends or relatives. They also use email for news updates, sending updated pictures, or sending funny jokes.

In Business:

Email has a wide range of advantages, beginning with time management, which is always a problem for busy people. Email can free you from the time restraints the telephone imposes. With the use of email in businesses, you can read and respond to emails any time of the day and reach people after business hours or on weekends. This allows you to control and customize your time management better. [3]

  • It is extremely inexpensive; usually free.
  • You can prioritize your email responses that need to be answered ASAP.
  • They save time by enabling you to communicate information that does not require contact by phone.
  • The constraints that time zones impose on national and international communications are also eliminated.
  • You can keep accurate records of your communications by saving your emails.
  • You can attach documents to emails.
  • Junk mail
  • Privacy and security: hackers can access anybody’s emails.
         >Although there are ways to try to avoid hacking and obtaining security systems (like McAfee) are relatively
           easy, there are not 100% accurate

Challenges against Email


Spam has two official names UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email) or UBE (Unsolicited Bulk Email). It is mostly known as “junk mail”. Spam has been flooding the Internet with millions of messages that people do not care to receive. The reason for spam mail is so many people are on the Internet and marketers discover it as an effective way to target their advertisements. [3]

One of the biggest problems with spam is that it clogs up the Internet. It makes the web servers work harder than they already need to. Spammers can get your address by guessing it, harvesting it from the Web, tricking you into giving it to them through a website, or buying it from a mailing list merchant. [3]

Computer Viruses

A virus is a small piece of software that piggybacks on real programs. A virus can be attached to another object such as a document from Word and every time your run that program, the virus will run and it can reproduce. Email viruses do travel as attachments. It usually replicates itself by mailing itself to dozens of people in the victim’s email address book automatically. [4]


Email is NOT private! Most employers, universities, and schools have specific policies on emails and which websites can be accessed while at work; however, that does not mean that your account cannot be hacked into. When a message is "deleted," technically that is not the case. Logging out of your email account is also a privacy must once you are done; simply "closing out" of the window does not ensure that your email is closed.

Implications for Media Ecology

Email is a great way for business people to keep in touch very quickly over a subject. Also, this is a prime method of communication at most colleges and universities, between professors and students. Possibly one of the greatest things about email is the fact that it is so fast and links can be sent, whereas links cannot be sent through regular postal mail. Just like every other kind of technology medium, email does have its negatives, with the greatest one being privacy.


[1] “The history of email” Ian Peter. 16 April, 2008 1:27. Net History. 2004 <



[2] Buckley & Clark Duncan. The Internet. New York: Rough Guides, 2006.

[3] Dvorak, John C. & Pirillo. Online! The book. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2004.

[4] Melton, Barbara & Shankle, Susan. What in the World are Your Kids Doing Online?. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

[5]Alverno College. N.p., 23 July 2003. Web. 30 Mar. 2011. <http://depts.alverno.edu/cil/mod2/whatisemail.html>.

[6]Huett, Jason. "Email as an Educational Feedback Tool: Relative Advantages and Implementation Guidelines." International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning 1.6 June (2004). Web. 30 Mar. 2011. <http://itdl.org/journal/jun_04/article06.htm>.


Original Author: Jennifer Crowe


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