“Don’t spread the word about it. We shouldn’t be working on that.” Those were the words of the US computer scientist Ray Tomlinson when he and his team further developed the “Advanced Research Projects Agency Network” on behalf of the US government in the summer of 1971 and, quite incidentally, sent the first e-mail. In the decades that followed, electronic correspondence revolutionized the world of work and has advanced to become a channel without which life today, especially in times of home office, would be hard to imagine. Why is email still booming 50 years later, in times of Facebook, Teams, Slack and Co.? And despite the strong competition, what speaks for the fact that it will still exist in 50 years’ time?
Well, e-mail fulfills a multitude of functions in our digital world – and this is also shown by the usage figures. The technology market research institute The Radicati Group predicts that 4.6 billion e-mails will be sent and received every day by the end of 2025 – in comparison: in 2015 it was 2.05 billion e-mails per day. But what role does electronic correspondence play in a world in which TikTok has become the most loaded app in the world? One might think that Generation Z is turning more and more away from the written word and instead putting emojis and short videos at the center of their communication. However, current figures speak against it: A United Internet Media study on the subject of “E-Mail Use in the Young Generation” shows that 90 percent of young people in German-speaking countries send e-mails, 70 percent even consider them to be indispensable .
And so is the email. The e-mail address is part of almost all log-in processes and is therefore the digital equivalent of the private postal address. From social networks to streaming services, dating apps to receiving invoices from the electricity provider: Even 50 years after its invention, e-mail not only stands for electronic correspondence, but also serves for identification. The e-mail address accompanies users for many years and is changed less often than the mobile phone number.
While many other platforms are criticized for inadequate data and youth protection as well as political censorship, e-mail is considered secure, trustworthy, independent of provider and location. It is not subject to the arbitrariness of a company or country, but is an open standard that is independent worldwide. In contrast to public postings in social networks, nobody can read an email that is securely encrypted with S / MIME in just a few steps. Even with this, the good, old e-mail will enjoy a high level of acceptance for a long time to come.
The days of mass communication are over. Today, users only want to receive emails from companies if they are relevant to them in terms of time and content. Today, personalized and automated email marketing can both strengthen customer loyalty and increase the return on investment. Therefore: For the next half century with emails!