I was introduced to email in colleges in Hawaii middle of 1990's. My school had Macintosh computers that means before "Mac," and they had small black and white screens. As of storage on personal computers, we went from using small floppy discs for saving data while computers' hard drives were 25MB or something.
The email back then was capable of sending only plaintexts and then involved along developments of computer hardware and software. Like any other computer related progressions, the email changed a great deal of my life, as I build my life as an IT professional.
Today as of life in not only San Francisco and silicon valley, but also in the United States, email is necessity business tool.
The email replaced physical letter delivery system and added more beneficial features, which my recent chatting buddies in Japan didn't know or take advantages fully.
- formatting allows people create fancy looking presentations
- hyperlinks to other pages
- attach and insert audio, document, photo, and video files
- send calendar items with automatic reminders
- CC, forward and keep copies as evidence
- let recipients complete surveys or submit applications/questionaries
- no matter how much contents you add, it doesn't increase cost right away unlike physical mail
- get electric signatures
- save trees/paper
Thus who wouldn't use email at work?
I now would say Japanese businesses.
I was stunned that so many Japanese professionals told me that they do not even check email every day. Moreover, many organizations, such as banks, hospitals, and elders care houses do not use email as an official communication tool.
For example, while American banks send us alerts & notifications and let us send money by using only email or phone number information, Japanese banks won't use email message for confirming such a great communication tool's availability.
I probably need to write a more clear entry in order to make sense to tell complicated situations I encountered in Japan. I was so compelled to promote and record the wonderfulness of email on the day of electric mail. Besides outdated cash depending payment system and this anti-email bandwagon, how else Japanese organizations are undeveloped?
Oh yeah I remember the old school boys and discriminations against girls/women in Japan, yet let's not branch out here this time. I am just amazed how Japanese corporations are so rigid and uneasy to change and progress.
On contrary, Japan used to had created so many great systems that apply to modern IT world, such as Kanban agile management system, originated by Toyota. It sadly appears all the glory of Japanese industries belongs to the past.
Speaking of past and email, there was a classic remake of a Hollywood movie "Shop around the corner" used email in its story and titled it as "You've got mail." It was funny as protagonists of it used email like chat/texting, however, it clearly displayed the evolution of communication in a funny way.
I usually like both 'old & original' and 'new & evolved' and I like both the movies.
Yup, I do like physical mail too, especially when I can touch and feel the sender's thoughtfulness in details. However, email beats in speed. In e-commerce IT, people are accustomed to replying to message ASAP. As soon as possible. For urgent inquiry, you would send an acknowledgment of receiving such mail and followup etc,. American ITs are no comparison to Japanese business folks, my mother said. However, it is widely used commonsense that people replay mail to a business-related message by end of the day or the next day at the latest.
So if Japanese business organizations are not using email as much as Americans, what the heck Japanese people are looking at on their mobiles everywhere? All personal entertainment matter? I wonder how this goes.