From the First Message to 4 Billion Users: Fascinating Historical Facts About Email

Mar 23, 2023

Email, short for electronic mail, has become an integral part of our daily lives. We use it to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues, as well as to receive important information and updates from various sources. However, many people don't know much about the history of email, which dates back several decades. In this article, we'll explore some of the most interesting historical facts about email.

The First Email Was Sent in 1971

The very first email was sent by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson in 1971. Tomlinson was working on a project for ARPANET, which was the precursor to the modern internet. He sent a message from one computer to another using the @ symbol to separate the user name from the host name. This simple innovation allowed messages to be sent between different computers and eventually led to the widespread use of email.

The First Spam Email Was Sent in 1978

While spam emails may seem like a modern annoyance, the first spam email was actually sent in 1978. A marketer named Gary Thuerk sent a mass email to 400 people advertising a new computer model from DEC. The email was considered spam because it was sent without the recipients' permission and was unsolicited. Despite this, Thuerk's campaign was successful and helped pave the way for email marketing as we know it today.

The First Email Attachment Was Sent in 1992

Before email attachments, users had to physically mail documents or use a separate file transfer protocol to send files. However, in 1992, email developer Nathaniel Borenstein created the MIME protocol, which allowed files to be attached to email messages. The first attachment sent using this protocol was a photo of a band called Les Horribles Cernettes, which was sent by physicist Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Email Has Changed the Way We Write

Email has not only changed the way we communicate but also the way we write. In the pre-email era, formal letter writing was a much more common skill. However, email's informal nature and its prevalence in daily communication has led to a more casual style of writing. This has even extended to other forms of written communication, such as business memos and official documents.

Email Has Revolutionized Business Communication

Email has had a huge impact on the way businesses communicate. It allows for instant communication between employees, departments, and even between different companies. Email has also made it easier to keep track of important information and has reduced the need for physical mail, which is slower and less efficient. In addition, email has opened up new opportunities for remote work and has made it possible for companies to have a global presence.

The First Webmail Service Was Created in 1996

The first webmail service, Hotmail, was created in 1996 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith. The service allowed users to access their email from any web browser, making it much more convenient than traditional email clients. Hotmail was so popular that it was acquired by Microsoft in 1997 and was eventually renamed

Email Is Still Going Strong

Despite the rise of messaging apps and social media, email is still a vital communication tool. In fact, as of 2021, there are over 4 billion email users worldwide. Email remains an important part of our daily lives and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

In conclusion, email has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1970s. From its first message to its modern-day ubiquity, email has revolutionized the way we communicate and has become