Email is a revolutionary system that the majority of people use on a daily basis.
According to a recent report completed by The Radicati Group, Inc, "In 2015, the number of emails sent and received per day total over 205 billion. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3% over the next four years, reaching over 246 billion by the end of 2019."
Some people have a love/hate relationship with their email but if the truth be told, could we be as productive as we are expected to be today without it?
One of the internet's great pioneers, and the inventor of email, Ray Tomlinson has sadly died at the age of 74. I wonder, when he was developing this system, if he ever realised just what an impact it would have on the world?
Ray was responsible for the development of the email system and introducing the iconic '@' sign into our email addresses. The sign was added, as Ray explained in an interview, to indicate that the user was '@' another host rather than being local.
The first successful email was sent between two computers that were only 10 feet apart. Today, this seems like nothing but at the time, the feat will have been a huge success for Tomlinson.
Now, although the impact of email has been substantial in our modern lives, there are people who don't feel that it is the most efficient method of communication. I will put my hands up, I am one of these people.
Yes, there are moments when email is necessary but if I am honest, in a conversation I was having the other day somebody described their inbox as being full of 'noise', and I have to agree. The majority of emails that I receive are exactly that, just 'noise.'
I think the main cause of unnecessary email is down to its users. We seem to forget that we could just speak to our colleague that is sat 3 feet away rather than send an email, or we could pick the phone up and resolve things through conversation. The fast impact of email since its infancy has denied us of the time to correct our bad habits before it was too late.
With modern communications tools such as Skype for Business, Lync, Google Hangouts and now Whatsapp online, it is very easy to stay in touch with colleagues throughout the day, no matter where you are. These tools are perfect for quick conversations and instant response but when it comes to mass communication and sharing of content, even I, somebody who has frustrations with email, can see that it remains victorious here.
So what I am trying to say is that I do think email is flawed, but I think us as users are more responsible for this than the systems design and although I do think we could survive without it, I don't think it is going anywhere anytime soon.
As an innovation that has endured 45 years without being replaced by an alternative, I think Ray Tomlinson deserves huge credit and that his innovation is definitely something that should be celebrated.
But the bigger question that I have is, what do YOU think? Is email just noise or is it an essential tool?