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Where would we be without email? It’s a means of communication that is simple, fast, and free, and it’s one that most people use on a daily basis. From POP3 to Web mail, from home computers to smartphones, the way we use email has changed considerably over the decades, and yet it remains as popular as it ever was.

Email is one of those things that we generally take for granted. It exists, and it makes our lives easier (as long as the inbox is kept from getting full, and spam is kept at bay), and yet most of us don’t spend even a moment thinking about email. It’s time for you to do just that, and then let us know your thoughts on the subject.

This Week’s Question…

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

This week’s We Ask You is all about email. Literally. We want to know the who, when, why, what, and how of your email habit. Yaara recently conducted a poll to discover how often you check your email How Often Do You Check Your Email? [MakeUseOf Poll] How Often Do You Check Your Email? [MakeUseOf Poll] Most people who own a smartphone get into the habit of checking their email all the time, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. On the other hand, there are those (like me,... Read More , and this is your forum for revealing everything else about your personal use of this particular form of communication.

Who do you email? Is it primarily family, friends, or acquaintances?

When do you email? Are there occasions when only email will do?


Why do you email? Is it your preferred method of communication?

What do you email? Important messages, friendly greetings, or spam?

How do you email? Is there one email client you always use?

In case none of those questions pique your interest enough to make you comment (and how could that possibly be the case), then feel free to offer up one of your own, along with an answer, of course. As long as it relates to email then it’s more than welcome.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told UsOne reader will even win Comment Of The Week, which will be included in the follow-up post! What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to start a conversation. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Horia Varlan

  1. Alae Hatoum
    October 30, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Who do you email? people I'm collaborating with so its primarily Business and the occasional contact with website administrators ... I hardly use it to send emails to friends or family anymore , I haven't done that in more than decade

    When do you email? When its too late at night or too early in the morning to call or send a message and with tools like Right Inbox for Gmail its easy to keep track of important emails ( I always track the important emails so I know if they are opened ) or schedule mails ... Sometimes its also the only way to contact website administrators when the subject is too long to explain on twitter (although if twitter didn't have a 140 Character limit that wouldn't be a problem)

    Why do you email? Its more formal and less personal , if I'm dealing with a client I wouldn't tweet them the files or send them a direct message on facebook updating them on the project .

    What do you email? I rearely forward stuff or send out stuff like invites or chain letters and I try to monitor what is sent from my mail without my knowledge . Mainly I send updates to my clients about the work and sometimes I contact website administrators about stuff such as events , tickets , subscriptions and stuff like that

    How do you email? Gmail , no client no nothing . I used to use Thunderbird and I used Windows Live Mail but I don't really get the point , at the moment I have all my mail forwarded to my Gmail account and that's it

  2. Vipul Jain
    October 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Who do you email?
    People i have to (Broker agents, Recruiters etc.) & Family & Friends.

    When do you email?
    For people i have to, when i have to. For family randomly.

    Why do you email?
    For people i have to, i mail because u have to :D
    For family i just forward a funny mail to make their day.

    What do you email?
    For people i have to : Important stuff.
    For Family: Humor

    How do you email?
    For people i have to: The nearest device i.e. phone or PC
    For family, PC Browser only!

    In short, email is not a way of communicating among people you know anymore. I mail only when i need to. Else its just SMS, Whatsapp, face to face or Facebook :D

  3. Terry
    October 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I have two email accounts I use all the time:

    My work email account used all day every weekday for professional use in my job setting. Auto-checked for new mail every 5 minutes.

    My personal email account used for notifications or communication with family and friends, companies, politicians, forums, news, classified ads. Auto-checked for new mail every hour.

  4. Nancy B
    October 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Who do you email? business clients, boards and committees I'm on and family, some jokes etc to friends

    When do you email? mostly daytime, occasionally evening

    Why do you email? I prefer email to texting as I have a copy of what I sent as well as I find texting annoying, prefer to talk on the phone...really don't understand why you would want to type out everything when talking is much faster!

    What do you email? Mainly comments on committee/board reports, sales incentives and brochures, occasional mail type letter, and sometimes a joke or picture joke

    How do you email? I tend to use Hotmail and Yahoo the most but also have a Gmail (only cause my sons asked me to) and local carrier accounts which I rarely use and only check once or twice a month. My "junk mail" comes into Hotmail and more personal and gaming info into Yahoo.

  5. Scott Pickett
    October 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I am currently living with a total of 8 different email accounts that require checking. Some multiple times a day and others only weekly.
    Who do you email? EVERYONE. From work to family and everyone else

    When do you email? I have 2 email accounts on my phone and I am constantly checking and responding to things throughout the day. I consider myself an Outlook power user

    Why do you email? Easy to track conversations and almost everyone has at least one email account they check regularly. I do find that lots of people are turning to SMS for short messages but email is still unchallenged for a detailed message.

    What do you email? Mostly work. We even email our invoices to certain clients.

    How do you email? I use Outlook and Gmail the most. Outlook is my work email powerhouse and for about half of my RSS feeds.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      October 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      I'd be mad sorting through that many accounts and remembering which account is for what. Kudos to you, sir.

      I agree that tracking messages and conversations with email is much easier, though.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Do you ever manage to get an empty inbox? Or even 8 empty inboxes?

      • Scott Pickett
        November 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        Um... NEVER. If I can keep the work inbox below 100 messages I claim victory. Luckily I have employed a fun gmail forwarding scheme to try and keep tabs on all the inboxes. It isn't pretty but it stops me from having 8 Outlook profiles.

  6. William Lutz
    October 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

    There are occasions when I am unable to be at my pc ( sometimes a week at a time ) and it is nice that I can check e-mail on my phone. My work involves a desktop so I check my e-mail daily. The who is for the most part business info and MUO which also explains the what. I communicate with my family and friends by phone ( preferred ) and Google is my go to e-mail client with my broadband e-mail client serving as a secondary.

  7. shaurya gupta
    October 26, 2012 at 10:05 am

    who n' what: I email my friends so as to use email as I.M.
    I email the makeuseof team about any enquiry about the comments or the delivery of a giveaway.
    And of course i'd email anyone else for anything important.
    When : i email whenever i need to. There ain't no specific time but certainly, it's when,
    the Destiny wants me to email...
    Why: i email coz is is the simplest, the best and all-in-one solution for text communication even with new people or rather official people or simply your known ones.
    How : I use ms outlook most of the times for the email ever sometimes i even use my browser and once in a blue moon, my android phone.

  8. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    October 26, 2012 at 7:57 am

    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, occassionally applying for newsletters.

    When: I check my email everytime I'm bored. But recently I set up an IFTTT recipe to send an SMS everytime 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: Webapps 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.

    • Koshy George
      October 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

      Who uses SMS anyway, I think using SMS is stupid.

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        October 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

        That definitely proves that we're living in different part of the world (I'm from Indonesia). Here SMS is what you use daily with mobile phones. Data plan is expensive and unreliable. Recently more people are using BBM and Whatsapp and social medias to interact, but SMS is still the number one way to communicate since every people who have mobile phones can use it. We text more than call!

      • shaurya gupta
        October 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

        Yeah man, coz u usually don't know everyone's phone number! And why use something that costs...

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          October 26, 2012 at 3:33 pm

          It's more common here to ask for your phone number than your email address when you're introducting yourself. Only enterprises are using emails regularly.

          Data plan is much more expensive. With so many people using SMS, the carriers are forced to make the cost really low to compete. We have programs like send x number of SMS to get x number free, or 1000 Rupiahs for all day. My carrier costs 100 rupiahs/SMS. If you need comparison 1$=9000+ Rupiahs.

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          October 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm

          One more thing because we can't edit our comment:

          Common conversation when we're doing group assignment:
          Friend:Send me the paper once you've finished.

          Then I should send an SMS saying :"I've sent it to your email address."

          Not just peers. Even teachers will not check their emails regularly. We should report that we've sent our assignments first.

          See what I mean? I think only several people in my High School actually use email for something other than dumping social media notifications. I check my emails regularly because I use them.

      • Dave Parrack
        November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        SMS beats talking to people on the phone! ;)

  9. Yiz Borol
    October 26, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Personally I use email as more of a news consumption tool than a correspondence tool. Almost all of the emails I receive are from newsletters.
    Since I've started college again I've been using it a little more as a way to contact lab partners or email my professors but a large majority of the emails I see are automated.

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