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Email has been with us for decades now, and most of us have at least one, and probably numerous, email accounts with inboxes in varying states. We access them via computers, tablets, and smartphones, and generally couldn’t do without email as one of the many forms of communication open to us in these enlightened times we live in.

However, each individual uses email in different ways, so we set out to discover the trend associated with this awesome-yet-under-appreciated method of keeping in touch with anyone and everyone else inhabiting the online world. This is all about email, as we explore who, when, why, what and how the MakeUseOf readership uses the electronic postal service.

All About Email: Who, When, Why, What, How?

We asked you, All About Email: Who, When, Why, What, How? There were a rather disappointing number of responses, which I blame on the fact that the subject matter was rather boring. Or perhaps it was the fact that there were five separate parts to the question, and very few people want to spend time building a suitable response to such an all-encompassing request for answers. My bad.

A smattering of what we learned from the comments thread (that you really should go read for yourself) was as follows:

Who? College professors, online friends, family members, business clients.
When? Daily, when bored, every five minutes.
Why? Instantaneous, accessible, free, all-in-one-solution.
What? Newsletters for news consumption, jokes, important stuff.
How? Gmail and Yahoo Web apps, Outlook, Hotmail.

Comment Of The Week

Those who answered the question in full all deserve a mention, so here goes: Shaurya Gupta, Scott Pickett, Nancy B, and Vipul Jain, as well as the winner of ‘Comment Of The Week’, Lisa Santika Onggrid, who won with this comment:

Who and What: My friends still prefer SMS rather than emails, so I only use email to contact people I met online (including online forums), sending news to my editor (I’m freelancing for a newspaper), sending tech supports and software reviews, occasionally applying for newsletters.

When: I check my email every time I’m bored. But recently I set up an IFTTT recipe to send an SMS every time I receive a new email. It saves me so much time. I generally respond within 3 hours, but that could vary depending whether I have access to the Internet that day. I use the mobile version a lot, but just for reading. Composing long messages with phone is a chore.

Why: It’s instantaneous, available anywhere as long as I have my phone, as widespread as SMS, and I don’t like social media. Email is still prevalent in today’s life, contrary to what some people like to believe. It’s not dead yet.

How: Web apps in browser. I’ve trying some email clients, but I like to think: “Well, I’m connected to the Internet so why don’t I check the site myself?” but I’m starting to like being able to access and sort my mails offline. I bookmark Ymail and Gmail in my phone, using IFTTT to connect my inbox to SMS notifications.

As well as that full and frank response to the question, Lisa also entered into discussion on a number of other people’s comments, which was enough to make her input stand out over everybody else’s input.

We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

Image Credit: Horia Varlan

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  1. Tarek Ramadan
    November 1, 2012 at 5:35 am

    thanks for the article

  2. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 1, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Thank you for the points!
    I don't think the subject matter is boring. It's the five-part question that hinder people from answering, I think.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Noted :)