32+ Essential Email Facts Everyone Should Know
Have you ever wondered, "Who invented email?" or, "Who sent the first email?" Sometimes these questions pop up, and you must know the answer. Well, you're at the right stop, because this article collects some of the most fascinating email facts.
Top 7 Email Facts from History
Thanks to advancements in technology, traditional mail has evolved dramatically. How many of these milestones do you know? Here are a few awesome facts all about email history:
1. The creator of email was Ray Tomlinson … or was he?
There's a popular claim that credits Ray Tomlinson as the father, or inventor, of email. Ray Tomlinson worked at research and design company Bolt, Beranek and Newman as a computer programmer. In 1971, he invented a messaging system that allows for easy, internal company communication.
The electronic mailing system he built worked across the ARPANET, the precursor network to the modern internet. In order to determine where the messages were sent, he introduced the @ symbol as a routing designation.
Sounds like the email we use these days, right? Not everyone agrees with this claim.
Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai claims to be the inventor of email as we know it. Although this claim is widely considered false, Dr. Ayyadurai maintains his position as the email's creator. According to his claim, he invented the electronic-messaging platform in 1978, at age 14, while working as a research fellow at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He claims to have created a software called "EMAIL" for easy communication.
2. The first email was sent in 1971.
Whichever inventor you side with, there's a Guinness World Records entry to mark the invention of email and the year when the first email was sent.
3. Email was invented to reach out to people.
In an interview with The Verge, Ray Tomlinson acknowledged that email was being used as he intended. That is, to send messages to people — not mailboxes or administrative assistants:
There was no really good way to leave messages for people. The telephone worked up to a point, but someone had to be there to receive the call. And if it wasn't the person you wanted to get, it was an administrative assistant or answering service or something of that sort. That was the mechanism you had to go through to leave a message, so everyone latched onto the idea that you could leave messages on the computer.
As the network grew and the growth of all that accelerated, it became a really useful tool: there were millions of people you could potentially reach.
Read the interview to find out how it all began.
4. The first email sent from space was from the Atlantis crew.
The first email from space was sent in 1991 by the STS-43 Atlantis crew. They used Apple's early AppleLink software on a Macintosh Portable. The message reads:
Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time. Wish you were here… send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby… we'll be back.
5. Email spam and Spam (food) are related, sort of.
The word "spam" can be traced back to a 1970 Monty Python's Flying Circus skit. In the skit, almost every item on the menu devolved into SPAM. When the waitress says the word "Spam," a group of Vikings in the corner of the restaurant chants the word incessantly, which effectively drowns out other conversation until they are told to shut up.
Spam later evolved into a synonym for "fake," but no one knows exactly when it made its way into the electronic messaging vocabulary. This is perhaps, one of the most mysterious and interesting facts about email to date.
6. About half of your inbox is spam.
According to Statista, spam accounted for almost 54% of email traffic, as of March, 2020. This seems like an improvement from Sanebox's 2016 report, wherein an analysis of internal user data suggested that 62% of email traffic is spam. However, the Statista report shows that the figure fluctuates from one month to the next and usually peaks before Christmas.
7. Hotmail was the first commercial email client.
Its public release was on the 4th of July, 1996. However, Hotmail wasn't the first email management program.
The first email management tool was developed by Larry Roberts, also an ARPANET worker, in 1972, and it introduced the basic actions we still perform with email: list, select, forward, and reply. Later, in 1988, Steve Dorner introduced a graphical user interface to email.
Top 4 Interesting Facts About Email Use
Having reviewed some interesting facts about the history of email, let's also learn a few more about using email.
1. There are 3.9 billion email accounts (and counting).
Today, the number of registered email users stands at 3.9 billion. That's about half the world's population. At the same time, there are over 5.5 billion email accounts, meaning that a lot of individuals and companies use more than one address.
2. An average of 98 emails are sent and received a day.
On average, a business email receives and sends 98 emails every day. If you take into account both business and personal accounts, the figure is closer to 60 emails a day. This accounts for the increasing number of email marketing campaigns and spam emails that hit your inbox every now and then. According to the same analysis, an average of 19 emails is sent per day from different personal and business accounts.
3. Employees spend a third of their work time processing the inbox.
Dealing with emails can be very draining, especially when it comes to business emails. It is estimated that the average professional spends up to 28% of work time attending to emails. For the average American worker, that translates to 2.5 hours or more, daily, to check emails, read and reply to those that matter, and send others into a spam filter.
4. Email users check their inboxes from virtually any location.
A significant number of Americans begin their days by checking email. And because mobile devices make life more comfortable these days, you can literally find people checking email anywhere.
Americans check email in the sitting room, while relaxing, during meetings, while driving, and before going to bed.
5. You have about 30 seconds to take back what you said.
Did you know that you cannot edit an email once you send it out? It's interesting to note that, even with the advancements we've seen so far, the most you get is a 30-second window to undo sending an email. Then you can edit it and send it again. After those 30 seconds are up, there's nothing you can do but send a follow-up. Just remember to switch on Undo Send in your Settings.
And What About the Business Side of Things?
When it comes to workplace and business communications, email is the preferred means of communication. 86% of professionals think so.
However, it's interesting to note that an email that has been sitting in an inbox for 24 hours has only a 1% chance of being opened. So when you're writing a subject line—aim to impress. If your email hasn't been opened within the first couple of hours after arrival, the open rate will rapidly decrease.
Curious for more? Check out the infographic below.
Since the creation of email, lots of tools and features have been developed to improve the experience of the average email user. Mailbird, an email client designed for Windows, steps in to truly ensure you enjoy your time using emails.
Mailbird unifies all your email accounts from different providers into one place. It's smart, comfortable, and provides businesses and professionals with a useful tool to manage their emails, as well as improve communication, productivity, and collaboration.
Interesting Email Facts Infographic
The infographic below, by Webeeky, shares astonishing facts about email that are entertaining, but also provide a deep insight about email history, use, and engagement.
FAQs about Email
What is an email, and what is its function?
Email is short for "electronic mail." It is a widely used internet feature for sending and receiving messages to and from anyone with an email address, from anywhere in the world.
Why is email important?
It makes communication easy and seamless. It also delivers messages directly to the people you want to receive them.
What are the five parts of an email?
— Subject — a description of the topic of the message— Sender (From) — the sender's internet email address— Date and time received— Recipient (To) — the recipient's email address— Attachment — files and documents (optional)