Effects of Email on Communication
By David Nield
With its instant global reach, email has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. As the technology makes its way to more devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, its influence continues to grow. It's the pen and paper of the 21st century, but offers so much more.
Instant and Worldwide
Email has made communication instant and global. You can send a message to the other side of the world in seconds for the price of an Internet or data connection. Business colleagues, families and friends can keep in touch much more easily, saving time and money and developing relationships that would suffer without email. We are communicating more quickly, with more people, across a greater area, than ever before -- thanks to email.
Email is much more than words; it can include images and links as well as attachments of almost any kind. Thus, email enables us to distribute resumes, slideshows, articles of interest, music, links to video clips and much more. Email has made our communications more varied and given them greater scope, touching all aspects of life. It enables working from home, reporting from remote locations and the sharing of holiday photos before the holiday has even finished. Being able to share files across the Web instantly and easily has had a tremendous impact on business and social relationships.
One To Many
Email enables us to reach large numbers of people at once -- we can type the same message once and it can be received by dozens, hundreds or thousands of people, removing the need to duplicate a letter hundreds or thousands of times. Family gatherings or business meetings can be organized in a fraction of the time without getting up from the computer or looking up from a mobile device. You can send items such as newsletters, reports and sponsorship forms from one person to many people instantly, enabling information to be distributed in the blink of an eye.
Some people argue that the convenience and simplicity of email has eroded our face-to-face conversational skills, as well as fostering an "always on" mentality and a need to reply at the earliest opportunity. The instant nature of email has added to the ever-increasing pace of modern life, and with messages now reaching us wherever we are thanks to mobile phones and tablet devices it can be harder than ever to switch off. However, it would be difficult to claim that the downside of email outweighs the benefits it has brought us, from keeping and developing relationships to disseminating information.
An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.