Email Evolution for a Middle-Aged Discipline
No one likes to be called "middle-aged," but sometimes it's just a fact. Email is 44. For marketers who also happen to be of a certain age, looking over this infographic from ReachMail might bring back some fun memories.
"Email Is Officially Middle-Aged" is published on the Chicago-based email marketing software and services provider's website and starts with 1971, when computer engineer Ray Tomlinson sent the first email, then called an "electronic mail message."
The infographic posted on Jan. 20 ends its chronology on 2014.
"In the past 44 years, email has gone from being a little-used form of communication reserved for only the most tech-savvy, to something so commonplace that it's become part of our daily vocabulary," writes ReachMail. "And just think—in the time that it took you to read this infographic, you probably got an email."
Now for that "remember when" trip:
- 1971: Email is born. As happens with age, Tomlinson doesn't remember what the first message actually said. This goes against the "content is king" saying, doesn't it?
- 1978: Email marketing is born. Where there's an audience, there's an advertisement. Government and university staff and students saw the first ad.
- 1982: Did someone say "email"? As with Brangelina, all words get shortened. So, of course, emoticons were born, too.
- 1998: "Spam" enters the dictionary. As Jeremy Zimmerman points out in his article on Thursday, "hashtag" entered the dictionary in 2014. These things happen. And sometimes, marketers cause them. Zimmerman suggests readers check out "@BrandsSayingBae" for social media marketers who are … well. Current?
- 2003: President George W. Bush signs CAN-SPAM into law. Now, U.S. commercial emails are regulated. It only took 32 years.
- 2005: "Email became more secure when SPF was established, a technology that verifies email senders' identities," ReachMail says.
- 2012: Mobile email addiction happened. Of the 90 million Americans doing so, 64 percent use mobile email each day.
- 2013: Gmail introduced the "promotions" tab, moving marketing emails out of immediate sight. "To address the high volume of emails being sent and received, Google rolled out Gmail tabs in 2013 to ensure smarter sorting of email and less email overload," ReachMail says.
How should brands expect email marketing to evolve in the next 44 years?