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10 facts about email

November 22, 2018

10 facts about email

This post is also available in: Spanish

10 email facts that you need to know. Learn all about it here

Did you think it’d disappear sooner or later? Email is one of the “deans” of the Internet, and it is still very much in the news almost 50 years after Ray Tomlinson sent the first one on a historic morning in 1971…

And the popular “email” has found in simplicity and usefulness its main assets. It is true, the multiplicity of communication systems has put an end to that emotion that provided us with receiving an email at the dawn of the network; now we use it for more prosaic purposes, such as receiving work messages. But it is still an essential tool in our daily life.

Now, a tool that has been so successful also hides some email facts, we can learn some things about the 50th email trip. Do you want to know some email facts?

10 email facts

– It all started in 1971

This is the date the first email was sent.

Probably a lot of people would find it strange. The first e-mail did not cross the ocean from New York to Paris (for example), but it was sent via ARPANET between two computers in the same room at BBN. The address Tomlinson used to achieve the milestone was [email protected] and the content of the message was something like “qwertyuiop”, a random and irrelevant message, according to Ray himself.

– There was no project to create the email

Quite different from what happened with so many historic IT tools, there was no complex and expensive project behind the creation of email. It was simply an idea that turned out to be curious and interesting to Tomlinson himself. And sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that go the furthest…

– The origin of the @

We owe this to our friend Ray, too. The symbol, which is used to separate the user name from the domain name, was chosen by Tomlinson because it was one of the least used among those available on keyboards. Shortly thereafter, it became one of the great symbols of the Internet.

– That nuisance called “spam”

The word spam first appeared as the name of a canned spicy pork product, designed for quick consumption and very popular during World War II. Decades later, in the 1970s, the word spam regained its popularity thanks to a sketch by the English comedy group Monty Python, therefore it was used to designate anything that was repetitive and annoying.

In the early days of the Internet (around 1978), and especially in the field of newsgroups, “spam” began to be used to designate the messages of people who tried to “sneak” annoying and repetitive advertising messages. From there, its leap to email and to global fame.

– More about spam

The spam alert, carried out at its inception, was unable to contain its growth. Although in 1995 it was estimated that around 8% of the emails sent were spam, the figure rose during the first decade of this century to 80%, within which most were fraudulent practices such as “phishing”.

Fortunately, the filtering systems developed over the last few years have ensured that a large part of the spam received does not reach the inbox of our emails, but even so, the volume of spam sent (almost always automatically) is enormous.

– An email from space

The first was sent in 1991. The STS-43 crew did it, thanks to a Macintosh 5120 and through AppleLink. Then the text…

“Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 team. The first AppleLink in space. The weather is quite good, I wish you were here… send Cryo and RCS! So long, baby… we’ll be back!”

– Hotmail was born in 1996

Microsoft’s e-mail service was launched on July 4 of that year, soon becoming the most widely used service of the moment. Initially it had a storage limit of 2 Mb. Years later it was replaced by Outlook.

– Monday is a bad day to send emails

According to some studies, this is the day of the week in which we make the most mistakes writing emails, which – considering that emails with errors tend to get fewer responses – often makes them less successful.

– Email is still fashionable

Although it is estimated that it ceased to be the most used service on internet in 2014 (it would have been surpassed by instant messaging tools), email is still the second most used service today, almost 50 years after Tomlinson created it.

– And it does it with an incessant flow

It is estimated that there are about 5 billion e-mail addresses and that more than 200 million e-mails are sent each day. And the figure is likely to continue to grow in the future.

Here are some email facts that have taught us some things about its story, and also that it looks great although it is almost 50 years old.

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