Electronic mail is known for its informality. This is partly because of
the hacker culture whence email springs and partly because email is so
easy to send. In some ways email has more in common with phone discussion than with paper memos, which are traditionally more formal in
Because email communications are written, they can be much more
detailed than a phone conversation. And they're delivered almost
instantaneously, rather than overnight. So colleagues or friends can
have a long "conversation" -- with a written record of what they said --
over the course of a day.
Anatomy of an email message
When you receive an Internet email message, it usually contains many
lines of incomprehensible gibberish before the beginning of the actual
text. (Endnote #11) This chunk of gibberish is known as the "header" of the message.
Most of it is a record of the path the message took from the sender's
computer to yours. It's useful only when an email message gets lost or
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