Email, it is such an integral part of our lives today that we can hardly imagine a time when it did not exist. Well, prior to the 1990s it pretty much didn’t exist. People sent faxes if they were looking for some rapid-fire results, but, often, the fax machine was out of paper and didn’t work properly anyway. AOL kicked in around 1995 and Hotmail about 1996. Electronic mail if you look it up on Wikipedia started in the 1960s but I sure don’t know anyone who was emailing in the sixties, seventies, or eighties, for that matter. An examination of email as a form of communication is, in my opinion, well overdue.
Examining Letters is Not a New Activity
Hands up, who remembers writing actual letters with a pen or typewriter? Snail mail, as it is derisively referred to now, was the main form of written communication on the planet. The post was a pretty darn important part of life, both commercially and personally. Did you know that the GPO in the United Kingdom was the foundation of the internal security agencies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? MI5’s forerunners were checking out the post for seditious materials for eons. The fact that Big Brother is listening in and perusing your meta data in 2108 is not that unique, it has been happening via one medium or another for ever.
Security & Email Communication
Security and communication have been interlinked issues for a very long time. Consider the lock and key nature of encrypted email, check out these exponents. I am reminded of the encoded messages sent by Catholic agents during the Elizabethan Age and Francis Walsingham. Most of us, however, do not have so much to hide and do not worry overmuch about the privacy of our emailed communications. Those involved in illicit trysts are the exception and books have been published recounting some of these troves of emails between celebrated lovers. There is always a healthy appetite for an examination of these types of emailed communications.
Email is instant. Email, in my experience, is characterised by brevity and a level of informality. Personally, I associate email with working and do not spend a lot of time emailing friends and family. I prefer the intimacy of the phone for this type of communication. An email sent rashly in reaction to some affront is, usually, regretted. Its immediacy can draw you into this sort of hasty behaviour and is best avoided when possible.