Is e-mail really for old people? And happy 35th birthday e-mail!

On: October 21, 2006
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About Twan Eikelenboom
One of the first Masters of Media to crawl upon this blog (2006/2007)! Still following (and at times contributing) to this great project. Working at Dutch sectorinstitute for e-culture Virtueel Platform. Special interest in stories resulting from new media product use (think: sat nav gone wrong) and independent gaming. Also blogging at


testHow to keep up as schools in a world where even e-mail is outdated and social networking is the new big thing? Some schools say that the answer is setting up a MySpace page. Can it be that education has sunk to a new low? Or is this the new high in school/student communication? Nate Anderson wrote an article on about this.

But the question how to communicate with the younger generation is also very actual for parents, they just don’t know what can be done with a computer. Jonathan Duffy wrote an interesting article on the BBC website called IT-support for your parents.

So what would you do as a school to communicate with students? And what is the future, because are we looking at MySpace as a way to hand in assignments maybe? Here are just a few other blogs talking about this subject.

But is e-mail really that old (and therefore, maybe, for older people)? Some time ago I came across a post on the Official Google Blog that e-mail turned 34 in October 2005. And because today it is exactly one year after: Happy 35th birthday E-mail!

Although Paul Buchheit, the writer of the Google blogpost is a bit cautious to really set a date, but he traces it back to an engineer named Ray Tomlison: “…in October 1971, an engineer named Ray Tomlinson chose the ‘@’ symbol for email addresses and wrote software to send the first network email

(also posted on

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4 Responses to “Is e-mail really for old people? And happy 35th birthday e-mail!”
  • October 21, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    […] (also posted on […]

  • October 23, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    I recon with the development in irc, chatting, and live feed the time to receive feedback from your reader has become much shorter. We are currently not used to waiting long for a reply, we want it immediately

  • October 23, 2006 at 11:50 pm

    I think we also expect social options in e-mail, like meeting new friends from around the globe etc. E-mail used to let you contact friends you made in reallife, but now both is expected out of the WWW (e-mail + social).

  • October 24, 2006 at 11:45 am

    I’ve used it all: Usenet, ICQ, IRC, MSN, Skype, Fora etc. The only thing I am using right now is e-mail. I actually use e-mail like MSN sometimes. I often engage in short coversations over e-mail with a friend of mine. What I like about it, is the fact that I can reply when I want and I don’t have to excuse myself for not replying immediately. That’s why I stopped using MSN for now. MSN has this nice feature where you can indicate your status: online, busy, be right back, offline, etc. But it is all the same! When you put your status on busy or be right back, people still expect you to be there and to reply within a minute. That made me so nervous. People dropping messages in your MSN chat window like: “YOU THERE?!?!?” or “Where are you?” or “Why don’t you reply?” argh! So I switched back to e-mail only. I can take as long as I want to reply (altough I personally think it’s kind of rude to wait more than 24 hours to reply, but hey I’m guilty of that too). And people don’t expect an immediate answer. Sure I practically live behind my laptop so chances are that I will read your e-mail within five minutes, but I don’t have to reply to it if I don’t want to or if I am in the middle of something else.

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