Project No. 6: Email as Narrowcast

One electronically mediated communications medium that’s easy to overlook is email.

Email is the oldest e-communication media.  It predates the Web, and it’s larger than the Web.

It has become a such a large part of everyone’s life that we tend to simply take it for granted.

The e-business consulting firm Radicati Group estimates the number of emails sent per day (in 2010) to be around 294 billion.

294 billion messages per day means more than 2.8 million emails are sent every second and some 90 trillion emails are sent per year.

It’s commonly claimed that 90 percent of these messages are Spam, but I’ve never traced the source of that figure.

The genuine emails are sent by around 1.9 billion (that’s 1,900,000,000) email users.

Six points to retain about email:

  1. Email is almost free.  It is by far the least expensive form of communication, especially across global distances.  Not to mention that it’s fastest.  Remember the telegraph?  Western Union stopped sending messages in 2006.
  2. Email is a push technology.  It requires little effort on the part of recipient, all they need to do is open their email browser and click.  It’s estimated that 83 percent of email users in America look at their email at least once a day.
  3. Email is asynchronous.  It’s like writing in that regard.
  4. Although email is a major one-to-one communications channel like the telegraph, it also can be one-to-many.  When you think about it, it is a form of publishing, or broadcasting, or narrowcasting, depending on how you look at it.
  5. If you are going to use email as a broadcast or narrowcast communications medium, you need permission from the recipient. Seth Gordon: Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
  6. In the late ’90s, html began to replace plain text in email, not without some pushback and not without problems.  However, by now most graphical email readers support HTML e-mail, and many default to it.

So let’s do a practice run on email publications.  This will be fun.  Some examples: 


Project No. 6: Create an html email, chock full of pictures, links and content.  Email to (at least) me by start of class Nov. 4.

About John Heckathorn

These are my teaching sites for Hawaii Pacific University
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