i'm steve

Email Is Old, Yet Cool

Sun 08 Jan 2014

Email was invented few decades ago, and in technological point of view, it’s quite an old tech. Because of its age, email lacks a lot of modern features, and together with its slow-back-n-forth-style-conversation, that makes it a misfit for the now fast-paced world, especially outside workplaces. Besides, the plain user interface is not very appealing to the young people these days who are used to theming & stickerssss.

Despites above, I still think email is cool. Why?

Email’s shortcoming is its strength

Yeah.. Email is no realtime, no read-indicator, no presence protocol (online or not) etc. So what? Lacking those feature might actually be a strength

  1. Your own priority: Without the read-indicator, you are not pressured to reply at once and you can have your own priority on things.

  2. Less interruption: Email have to be fetched, and you can decide when to fetch them, freeing you from getting interrupted when you are busy at something else, simply stay focus!

  3. Send it anytime: Emails are asynchronous (not realtime), there’s no need for both sender & recepient to get online before a conversation can flow.

  4. Convey better story: And because of its structure & length, it’s common for one to put the entire story/matter into an email content with context carefully explained.

  5. Better understanding: One can always go back to an email and read it again. It gives you more time to digest and have a better interpretation on the story/matter the mail trying to convey.

  6. Less disappointment: Not knowing whether the recepients have ever gotten online or read your email, if an email you sent have yet to get a reply, you can always encourage yourself “it might just be a miss or he/she is just not around yet”“.

Email can be serious & formal

Whenever it comes to lengthy story or serious business, email is definitely a better choice. Drafting email is like writing letters, it can show your respect & seriousness and requires craftmanship. A well written email not only can convey a story/matter with well defined context, it can also impress people and stir up emotion. Say, you are sending an cold email or when you are sending cover-letter for jobs, it’s definitely an advantage to plan & submit a good email, which could possibly standout or lead to a breakthru.

Email itself is a contact card

It’s very likely you have subscribed to or created account using an email. It usually is the ID for the service. More important, email address contains domain, and that domain often gives you sufficient information or reminder about the recepient background or even who he/she is. Rapportive is a good example demonstrating the impact. It makes searching and contacting people easier, and can provide you with enough background information on how one should approach.

HTML Email allows richer content

Embedding html code into email could deliver richer content to the recipient. The receiving side could be conveyed the message thru text accompanied by images, or tabulated data with styles applied, and links could be placed for references. Newsletter is a great use case of this.

Email attachment

Another powerful feature of email, which enables one to enclose files, not just images but also documents, music, zip etc. This makes email also a file transferring medium, which means it’s a centralized location for storing text content and also related files. Whenever history is needed, just go back to that email for references and the files are there as well.

CC, BCC & FWD gives email fine-grained flow control

CC (Carbon Copy), BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) and FWD (Forward) let one to have better control on the message flow. One can CC any interested parties to let them stayed informed of a conversation even if they are not actually participating the discussion; BCC parties which should be alerted the content, while it should not be bothered with the following replies; Better, one can take out parties from the CC field, when they are no longer relevent.

So?

Email might not be the best fit for every situation, but with all the above, it certainly excels at some.