Imagine...........A World Without Email  

AmberSolaire 41M
2630 posts
3/8/2006 11:12 am

Last Read:
3/23/2006 11:39 pm

Imagine...........A World Without Email

Ive been having hardrive problems of late.No thats not a euphimism for needing viagra, or my state of mind but rather the computer crashing leaving you out of touch with online friends kind.

It set me to imagining........what was the world like without email? though its still in its relative infancy I for one find it hard to remember:

In 1971 **** ********* invented email and sent the first ever message. It said QWERTYUIOP. The third email in history was sent to everyone on the experimental network which eventually became the Internet, informing them about this great invention which would improve all their lives. There was no second email; the computer crashed halfway through sending it. Now, 34 years later, it's as if ********* was some kind of technological Nostradamus. Everyone gets messages making as much sense as QWERTYUIOP,
and often less. Everyone gets messages informing us about great products we must use, like penis extensions and Viagra. Remind us, what's so great about email?

Far from being the 'killer app' of the Internet as was, email has become the Internet killer as is. There is an argument that without it, the Internet would never have gathered the momentum it needed to explode upon the world. But then there's also an argument that the Americans didn't put a man on the moon, and I don't buy that either. The Internet was founded on the principle of freedom of communication, albeit freedom within the remit of a military research function during the Cold War years, and it's communication that has been the key ever since. But let's not forget that the key thing is the act of communicating itself, not the presentation nor the transport medium. If email had never been invented, would we still be talking to each other, and would we still be using the Internet to do it?

Certainly, without the distraction of email to slow the process down, the evolutionary development cycle that started with IRC, moved to IM and is currently in the process of moving to VoIP would all have happened a lot faster. All of these technologies have been, and will remain, underused simply because email exists. It's often hypothesised that alternatives to email such as IM just wouldn't work on a global communications revolution scale, because they require the recipient to be online at the same time as the sender, but that hasn't stopped the telephone (and VoIP) from remaining hugely popular.

The problem with IM hasn't been the concept; it's been the delivery. The constant battle of proprietary standards between the powerhouses like AOL and Microsoft have left it fatally wounded. Can you imagine not being able to telephone a friend because they use a different telephone handset from you?

Assuming that IM and VoIP would not have been an open source gift to the Internet had email never been invented, where does that leave us? It leaves us offline and on the telephone. We're not talking your ugly housebound variety, but mobile telephony. This has shown us exactly how text-based communication can work without email as the conduit. It's called SMS and it's what your kids are spending your money doing while you are reading this. It parallels email in so many ways, right down to the fact that it's the youth market that 'got it' first. Just like email, it has developed a unique shorthand in order to overcome initial technological limitations. In the case of early email, this was the use of acronyms to reduce the size of the message as modems were slower than a snail on valium while costing more than his hippie mate. Plus it saves teenagers having to learn how to spell.

Of course, you can't stuff clippings from newspapers, a photo of the dog and your collection of CDs down the telephone without a computer to help you do it. However, we can't help but feel that it is the cultural impact of a society weaned on email that has made such profound difference, especially when it comes to respect, or rather the lack thereof, for copyright laws and intellectual property ownership. From this cultural viewpoint it's the ease with which attachments can be sent as email, the global reach of those attachments, and the combined sense of community and secrecy that first led us down the path to piracy.

The same goes for the lack of concern about other people's privacy - while ours remains sacrosanct, of course - that has been fed by the cut and paste culture of email. Would you seriously even think about photocopying a handwritten intimate letter and sending it to all your friends? Now think about how often you do just that with email. In reality, if there wasn't email the people responsible for spam would use whatever medium replaced it. There's spam on IM (SPIM), spam in logs (blogspam) and very soon there will be VoIP spam.

So I have to ask:

can a world without email be better than the spam ridden, virus carrying, fraud facilitating and time consuming one we all currently exist in?

HBowt2 58F

3/9/2006 4:44 am

you always have to pay a price and i guess the price for email is the spam ridden environment it lives in. we can communicate so much quicker and better now that is sometimes seems we have no private space...nowhere we can have time alone....the phone will always get us...

AmberSolaire 41M

3/10/2006 8:31 am

candy You mean you havent tried Carrier pigeon Candy! just think of the

Hbowl true, however if you dont carry the phone its less likely to get you.If you switch off the computer theres no spam.Its very liberating.....a bit like

AmberSolaire 41M

3/23/2006 11:39 pm

ah the treacherous nature of even the humble beast.If you threaten it with the frying pan Candy Im sure it will think twice.That could be either a full frontal assualt with it , or use to gently simmer and


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