A Brief History of Email: Take a Trip Back through Time

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I’ve been in marketing long enough to witness the communications revolution. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that there are many people are walking around today who don’t recall a time when email didn’t exist. These days, parents-to-be choose a name for their baby based on whether or not the Gmail, Outlook, and web domain addresses are available. (Yes, I knew an expectant couple who actually did this).

Shawn Naggiar dialing for dollars circa 2008But picture, if you can, a time before people kept cell phones within reach during every waking moment. (And even before cell phones themselves.) A simpler time, when actual letters came through the actual mail, not just bills, advertisements, and the occasional birthday card. A time when telephones were attached to walls or booths, and you had to dial a number (like, with a rotary dial) to reach out and touch someone. It was into this vast and (now) apocalyptic-seeming landscape, way back in 1971, that email arrived.

Of course, text-based “electronic” transmissions go back even further than that. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Samuel Morse in 1838. Telex network exchanges of interconnected teleprinters were mainstays of business and government communications during the last century. There’s a rumor that some companies still use fax machines (which actually predate the telephone). But not until the era of bell-bottoms and Bee Gees, miniskirts and moon landings, did email make its humble entrance. Come with us, won’t you, on a trip back in time through the great (and not so great) moments in email history? (Cue flashback sounds.)History of email infographic

improve-your-email-marketing-campaignsLearn more about Act-On solutions for email marketing, and find out how you can get the most value out of every message you send. Keep your email messaging from becoming one of those “not so great” moments in the history of email. Future generations will thank you!

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