After the diagnosis comes the prescription

Outlining the editorial shift on this blog

Necessary, but detested. Treasured, but unwieldy. Declared dead, but more used than ever. Email is a source of conflict and paradox, but as far as web platforms go it’s the simplest one around.

So far on this space we’ve attempted to trace the rougher edges of a service that seems to mirror our lives, in their tangled and frayed ends. After covering in detail the areas in which email seems to underperform, we’ve established that some faults lie with us, and others in the lacking functionalities of email.

Aspects such as time management, composition criteria or proper file naming can be solved with a modicum of effort on our part, and result in clear efficiency gains. The rest, however, seems to demand another kind of approach entirely – if the burden of solving email’s problems lies on the users, that


Out of a midlife crisis and onward to a gilded second youth

Is it time for a new form of electronic postage, or have the reports of email's death been greatly exaggerated?

Email presents itself as a paradox: it is the most enduring and transversal internet platform, but its static nature in regards to development seems to challenge the notion that internet services race each other in an attempt to be flashier and more complex. This stubborn framework begins to show some signs of fatigue, however. Over the course of the last few posts on this blog, we attempted to navigate the resulting pains associated with email use.

We began by dissecting the number one complaint, inbox overload. The clutter of messages is something that seems to affect every user, but no easy solutions have yet emerged. The remedies we proposed tended to do away with messages – an effective if not elegant measure.

Next we tackled the concerns over time efficiency. Of


43 years old and ready for a midlife crisis – a brief history of email

On the anniversary of the platform, we take a look at email's long – but surprisingly not very storied – journey to its current daily use.

The words spoken on the first ever telephone call have deservedly gained notoriety: “Come here – I want to see you”. Spoken by Graham Bell to his assistant Thomas Watson, these words seemed to hint at the deeper relationship users were about to engage in with the technology - rather than the mere pragmatical context they were uttered in. The first words exchanged by email, however, have no such ceremony. Ray Tomlinson, the researcher at ARPANET credited with the composition of the first email in 1971, claims the text was “a test message entirely forgettable, something like 'QWERTYUIOP' or 'TESTING 1 2 3 4'”.

QWERTYUIOP illustration

This disparity in serendipity could be said to have a cause, however: in the case of the telephone, the technology was being actively