E-mail vs. Telephone
Today the most popular methods of communication are the telephone and e-mail. Up until about 30 or 40 years ago, the telephone was only accessible to a limited number of people, but by the 1980’s it was widely available. Today, with the advent of mobile phones, it is available to almost everyone. By contrast, although e-mail has only been publicly available for 5 years or so, it is spreading fast and is easily accessible by a large majority of the world population.
The telephone has retained its popularity because you can converse with others almost as if you were face to face. However, e-mail can do a lot of things that the telephone can't, like sending photographs and written letters with ease. In some countries e-mail is the preferred method of communication as it is much cheaper to use. This has attracted large companies as well as individuals because of its cost saving, especially in the poorer areas of the world. The telephone enables real time communication and you know immediately if your message has been received, which is one disadvantage of e-mail. However, unlike the telephone, e-mail is free of charge and this is a crucial advantage. One of the threats to e-mail is the large amount of unwanted, or ‘spam’ e-mail that is generated. There is a danger that ‘spam’ could cause a breakdown in the Internet network. There have been various attempts to control the spread of ‘spam’. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, suggested that a small charge should be levied on all e-mails, which would have little effect on the ordinary user, but would deter the ‘spammers’ who send millions of e-mails at a time. Although this idea has been rejected at present, many experts believe it could be acceptable in the future to prevent abuse of the system.