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Advantages of email

What are the advantages of email?

Some people refuse to embrace new technology… and I suppose this is fine. Imagine what a wonderful place the world would have been if many countries wouldn’t have taken up nuclear energy and developed it into bombs. Anyway, I have no problems with such people as long as they don’t throw foolish criticism without knowing details.

For instance, I met a not-so-old gentleman a few days back who kept on haranguing me on how the internet and email has changed the “social landscape” and is responsible for most of the problems faced by youngsters. I found this a little far-fetched because email for all the ‘risks’ involved has some great advantages as a communication tool.

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Almost instantaneous

Email messages are transferred instantly – well almost. They move as fast as current in copper wires or light in optical cables, which is pretty darn quick. When you send an email is leaves your computer and arrives at the recipient’s inbox immediately. You can potentially have a conversation with a person over email – hence, the conversation view in Gmail.

Cost of sending an email is zero or negligible

If you have a 24 hour internet such as a through cable / broadband connection, the cost of sending an email is zero or very very small. For dialup users, the maximum cost of sending an email will be that of a phone call or a few (depending on the size of the message and the files attached).

Emails can be sent in bulk

One email message can be sent to multiple recipients almost at the cost of a single email. When compared to conventional postal service this is indeed a huge saving.

Email attachments – any digital document can be sent over email

As long as a document can be converted into digital format, it can be sent over email. Again, the cost aspect comes into picture. Imagine the money you will save by sending a 500 page document attached to an email instead of the same as hard copy printout – not only is the postage more expensive but there is also the cost of printing and paper to consider.

And the story doesn’t end with text documents. Photographs, music and audio files and even video from a camcorder can be attached along with an email message. To learn more, refer how to send photographs taken from your digital camera through email.

Though many email services put a limit to the email attachment size, there are workarounds; refer sending large files over email.

Delivery is almost guaranteed

The delivery of email messages in almost guaranteed. Why do I say “almost”? Because sometimes for reasons that are beyond the scope of this article, email can get lost in cyberspace but this is very rare.

Request return receipt

Just like with postal and courier services, you can request a return receipt which simply involves a click of a mouse button by the recipient. But even if the recipient doesn’t get back, you know your email has been delivered – refer point above.

Email is accessible

OK, this is one of the greatest advantages of using email – its accessible anywhere, anytime and through a multitude of devices – computers, laptops, palmtops and even cell phones.
One can check email from any location as long as an active internet connection is available.
Also email can be sent from any place with the same requirement of an active net connection.

Built in spell checking

Most email programs (or email clients) have built in spell check dictionaries – so you have no excuse of sending badly written messages. Spell checkers are also found in online email services such as Hotmail and Yahoo.

Notification of new arrivals

Email programs or devices can also be set up so you get a notification through sound or a flash of light when new messages arrive at your inbox.

Can be formal as well as informal

Email messages do not signify informality. Just because email is easy to compose and send does not mean it cannot be used in formal and official correspondences.

Automation

Several, if not all, steps in the emailing process can be automated.
A good example is sending birthday greetings to people. An email program checks the birthday and the name of the recipient from a list. A message (from a template) is then formulated and sent on the specified date.

Email storage and management

Storing and managing emails you receive is very easy if you use an email program or a good email service. Segregating messages into folders and organizing them properly is just like cleaning your desk and filing your work. However, with email there is no usage of physical space excepting that on your hard disk, of course. Also, any email client worth its salt has an inbuilt search utility that hunts out the elusive email in a jiffy.

Email security

The best way to secure your email messages is to use the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) technology. However, most people are unaware of it but it’s very much there!

These were some advantages I could think of. If you come up with others, write to me using the form below.
It’s now time to look at some disadvantages of using email.

Disadvantages of email

Email creates more work

In contrast to the popular notion, email actually creates more work. The easy of sending and receiving email has transformed businesses throughout the world and we know that the stress levels are increase, right?

People expect immediate replies

Most people know that emails are delivered instantaneously and hence expect replies immediately. I agree that the “human” element is kind of lost with email.

Most email messages are not secure

As I mentioned above, though a good secure technology exists for email, the masses seldom bother to use it… or even know about it. Hence transferring sensitive information over email such as credit card numbers or bank details (password?) is not advisable.

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