What happens when you send spam? How do you email Homer Simpson? And how do you undo a sent email? Here are MailJerry’s top 10 funny and interesting email facts.
Top 01: The inventor of email was supposed to work on something else.
Email was invented by an American programmer named Raymond Samuel Tomlinson who was working at the research and design company Bolt, Beranek and Newman. In 1971, he sent his first email, that might have looked something like “QWERTYUIOP”. Tomlinson later commented that the first “test messages were entirely forgettable and I have, therefore, forgotten them.”
At the beginning, no one understood the potential of Tomlinsons invention, which the inventor was only pursuing “because it seemed like a neat idea“. Actually, Tomlinson was supposed to work on something else. That’s why he advised his colleagues when showing them his email messaging system: “Don’t tell anyone! This isn’t what we’re supposed to be working on.”
Top 02: In 2010, the invention of email was claimed by…
…an engineer, politician and entrepreneur named Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai. He made the claim to have invented the electronic messaging system in 1979. As a 14-year old student at Livingston High School in New Jersey, Ayyadurai developed a messaging software called “EMAIL”. Based on this software, the engineer claimed in 2010 that he was the rightful inventor of email.
The controversy who invented email circled in the media for some time, but was later retracted after historians and pioneers of the Arpanet clarified that emails have been used since the beginning of the 1970s and that the inventor of email is – of course – Raymond Tomlinson.
Top 03: In 1991, there was an email received from space
…sent by the crew of the STS-43 Atlantis. Astronauts Lucid and Adamson used AppleLink to write an email from a Macintosh Portable addressed to Marsha Ivins at the Johnson Space Center. The message read:
Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,…send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,…we’ll be back!
Top 04: So is it email, e-mail, eMail, Email or E-Mail?
That depends on who you ask. The Associated Press Stylebook insists that email is an abbreviation of “electronic mail”, therefore making e-mail the correct spelling. However, many dictionaries and style guides are beginning to drop the caps and hyphen in favor for “email”.
So while CNN and the New York Times use “e-mail”, Adobe and Microsoft seem to not have made up their mind yet, using both “e-mail” and “email”. On the other hand, Apple, Yahoo and Google use “email” (and MailJerry does the same).
Top 05: The most popular password
Did you ever wonder why most online services ask you to include capital letters, numbers and special characters in your password? Well, there’s a good reason: As it seems, “123456” was the all-time favorite password of people, used by more than 10,000 Hotmail users.
This fact was revealed when Hotmail was hacked in 2009. So the next time you’ve forgotten an imperceptibly complicated password, be comforted by the fact that using complex passwords is actually a pretty good idea.
Top 06: You can delete half of your emails without consequences
Your mailbox is overflowing and you don’t know who to reply to first? Here’s an easy solution: Just delete 50% of your emails. Since about 47 percent of the e-mail traffic in 2020 was spam, it’s pretty safe to assume that you can delete half of your emails, provided you delete the right ones ;).
And another good news: The global e-mail spam rate seems to be decreasing. In 2012, 69 percent of all emails were spam, as apposed to 47 percent in 2020, with Russia being the largest generator of unsolicited spam e-mails.
Nevertheless, boosting your email productivity may be a good idea since…
Top 07: You likely spend one month per year with emails
Sounds like much? As estimations show, the average knowledge worker spends 28% of his working time sending, reading and replying to emails. Given an average of 40,5 work hours per week in the US for the age group of 25 – 54 years, you likely spend more than 23 whole 24-hour-days with your emails per year.
Top 08: You can undo sent emails
Given the sheer amount of time you spend emailing, it’s quite likely that you now and then send an email you’d rather not have written. Here’s the good news: You actually can undo sent emails! In case you’re fast enough and use Gmail.
Google Mail gives you a little thinking time to undo a sent message within 30 seconds after sending it. Here is’ how to do it:
- Click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner of Gmail
- Click on “See all settings”
- Next to “Undo Send”, select a cancellation period of 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.
- Save your changes
Next time you send an email, Gmail gives you up to 30 seconds to undo it. So better be fast, because in this case, time is not on your side.
Top 09: Undoing sent emails might save you from prison
At least if you’re a spammer like Jeremy Jaynes who was once the number eight on the list of the world’s most prolific spammers. Jaynes send up to 10 million emails per day an earned more than to $750,000 by selling fake products and services advertised in his spam messages.
If this sounds like a good additional income, wait until the end of the story: In 2005, Jaynes was convicted to 9 years of prison, making him the first person in the US who went to prison for sending spam emails.
Top 10: You can reach half of the world’s population via email, including Homer Simpson
Despite the popularity of mobile messengers and chats, email is still an integral part of electronic communication. In 2020, the number of global email users amounted to four billion worldwide, which is nearly half of mankind. Not included in this statistic are “not so human” email users like Homer Simpson.
Yes, you can – or actually could – email Homer. In the 14th episode, Homer Simpson revealed his email address email@example.com. The address was registered by Matt Selman, a writer for “The Simpsons”. Selman took it upon him to answer Homers emails until 2003 when the sheer volume of mail became unmanageable. Here is one of the many hilarious replies:
Dear Internet Nerd,
You’ve reached Homer Simpson’s electric mail dealie. I’m not here to answer it right now, so please send a six-pack of Duff to 642 Evergreen Terrace,
But be aware: The email address was used by malware authors in the past. So it’s wise to be wary when you receive an email from Homer, since it very likely is just Spam.