Email has drastically challenged America’s sense of communication, thinking and identity. “You’ve got mail!” In 1995, my family ordered America Online, and the world wide web was ushered into our house. We paid a nominal twenty dollar fee for a certain amount of time online. The familiar moniker of this internet service was so popular that a movie was made bearing the same name. I remember when my family ordered America Online in 1995, it existed in much the same context of novelty that Mark Twain used to describe his first experience with a typewriter. Twain writes, “I don’t want people to know I won this [typewriter] curious-breeding little joker” (500). I had an email address, but none of my friends did - so, it was useless. But when I embarked on my college career at Michigan State University in August of 1996, I became firstname.lastname@example.org. And when I moved into Wonders Hall on campus in East Lansing, everyone was connected with the massive computer labs in the basement of our dorms; amidst the drone of tapping keys in the computer lab, I was exposed to the power of email. Increasingly, professors required an email response to texts and other class discussions, and all of my college bound friends had email, so I began to communicate in cyberspace.
Today, millions of emails are sent from user to user: according to one online almanac, more than 90% (“Online Activites by Age, 2002” http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0903376.html) of the more than 56% of Americans who are already online (“Percent of Households with a Computer, 1998 and 2001” http://www.infoplease.com/ ipa/A0908342.html) send or receive emails on a regular basis. Email is everywhere and nowhere. According to Wendy Lessor, email is “at on...
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Lessor, Wendy. “The Conversation.” Writing Material. Ed. Tribble, Evelyn B. and Trubek, Anne. New York: Addison Wesley , Inc., 2003. 227- 233.
Ong, Walter. “Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought.” Writing Material. Ed. Tribble, Evelyn B. and Trubek, Anne. New York: Addison Wesley , Inc., 2003. 316-335.
“Online Activities by Age, 2002.” InfoPlease.com. 28 March 2004. 2003 Family Education Network. 30 March 2004