41 Year History of Email

Whether you consider Morse code or telegrams to be the original electronic mail, sending text from one person to the next has certainly evolved. Take a look at how email officially clicked and has become a major part of our lives, consuming 28% of our workday.

1971: U.S. programmer Raymond Tomlinson allegedly sent “QWERTYUIOP” as the first network email, and he was the first to connect his computer to his mailbox by using an “@” symbol.

1977: Tomlinson’s emailing method worked for networked computers using the same software, but many people began using the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPA) to connect outside networks.

1981: The American Standard Code for Information Interchange adopted a process of letters, punctuation and symbols to digitally store information.

1985: Government and military employees, students and academic professionals were common email users in the mid-1980s.

1991: ISPs allow widespread Internet access, but there were limited options for use until Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1991.

1998: “Spam” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary after its growth in the mid-1990s — not to be confused with the 3.8 cans of Spam consumed every second in the U.S.

1991: Astronauts Shannon Lucid and James C. Adamson sent the first email from space on a Macintosh Portable: “Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,…send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,…we’ll be back!”

1993: IDM and BellSouth marketed the first PDA-functioning 20-ounce cellphone, which sold for $900 and served as a phone, calculator, fax, email device and pager.

1997: Microsoft purchased Hotmail for approximately $400 million.

1998: The romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, hit theaters (and the website’s still live).

2003: The RIM 850 and 857 original BlackBerry smartphones were released, revolutionizing the mobile platform by concentrating on email.

2004: President George W. Bush signed the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 into law, which gained criticism for its lack of action against spammers.

2008: President Barack Obama became the first president to use mobile email and admit his addiction to his BlackBerry, and despite security concerns, he currently uses it in office.

2011: A study finds the worst email passwords are password and 123456. Others worthy of note: QWERTY, monkey and letmein. The password 123456 was also found to be the most common password during a 2012 email hack.

2012: There are more than 3 billion email accounts across the globe, and approximately 294 billion emails are sent per day. Roughly 78% of them are spam.