It seems incredible, but email has been around for forty years now, with the messaging medium first arriving in 1971 when computer engineer Ray Tomlinson blasted off the first electronic email message (sadly, the forgetful bugger can’t remember what it said).
The word ’email’ was first coined in 1982, with the first ever smiley ’emoticon’ arriving the same year, courtesy of Scott Fahlman.
By 1998, the torrents of spam had reached such a level that the word ‘spam’ entered the Oxford English Dictionary, while Microsoft had shelled out a cool $400m for Hotmail the year before.
Google GMail launched to the public worldwide in 2007, and pedantic types will be pleased to note that this year the Associated Press Stylebook has changed the spelling of ‘e-mail’ to ’email’.
One graphic coming up
To commemorate the 40th anniversary, email delivery company Reachmail have created a infographic for your delectation (click on the picture for a bigger image):