Introduction to this special issue on revisiting and reinventing e-mail
E-mail is the most successful computer application yet invented. It is used by millions of people to carry out their business each day. Over the last 10 years, e-mail has become ubiquitous in the home, too. It has changed the way that people work and the ways that organizations operate; many types of collaborative work would be unthinkable without it. Various reasons have been put forward for e-mail's success. Unlike face-to-face communication, its affordances free participants from the constraints of space and time. It is malleable, adaptable to many purposes and, at a technical level, operates using a highly simple protocol. Some of these success factors contribute to the problems that are now endemic to e-mail, from the problem of spam to the sheer volume of e-mail that users receive and the lack of direct support for the tasks which users assign to it.
Whittaker, S.; Bellotti, V. ; Moody, P. Introduction to this special issue on revisiting and reinventing e-mail. Human-Computer Interaction. 2005; 20 (1-2): 1-9.