An Introduction to Common Internet
Introduction to Email Theory
I. Using Email
What is email?
Email is the electronic equivalent of sending a letter. Email consists
of two parts, 1) the header, which contains information about where the
message will be sent, and 2) the body, or message. First, the author
to the head of the email message and types in:
Email should be spell checked, if it is not done so automatically, and
proof read for grammar and content before sending, unless:
- the email addresses of the person(s) to receive it, i.e. the To:
- the sender's email addresses, i.e. the From:
- the sender may want the email reply sent elsewhere, i.e. Reply
- the email addresses of the person(s) to receive the Cc:
copies (normally this is used to create file and information copies),
- the Subject: ,which tells the receiver of the email what
is about. It is a breach of netiquette not to fill in the subject
The user uses the Compose function of the particular email system
in the account and types in a text message, as one would use a word
to create a document.
Once it is finished to the author's satisfaction, the message may sent.
In some email systems, the author can track the email to see when it
received and when or if it was read by all recipients. This feature is
becoming more common as businesses increasingly use it to document and
track employee work habits.
- it is a trivial message, such as --" Its Lunch. Lets Eat",
- it is in the context of a non-judgmental, casual, social
- it will not become the basis for evaluating the sender's business
Some systems allow for a priority to be set to insure that the
gives it the author's desired level of attention. Note: in business and
in hierarchical organizations good manners and common sense dictate
the designation "priority" not be used unless the message is
Email can be an extremely cheap way to keep in touch with old chums,
or coordinate business groups and social organizations. Like
communication tools, it can also be overused and become intrusive. Do
Cc: or Bcc: people simply because it is easy to do. Always write
and succinctly. If your grammar and spelling are weak, have someone
it before sending it to a professional group. Sloppy grammar and slang
will mark the writer as careless, or worse yet, uneducated and
How does email work?
Email Via the Internet
Email Client Applications:
The email client application is any program on the user's computer that
is capable of writing email and of retrieving email from the user's
server. Thus the email client has two basic personalities or functions.
The email sender or creation functions:
The email creation functions are:
- Creating the address book of email addresses of the user's
and business associates. The address book may contain the full
about the individuals including phone numbers (business, home, fax,
beeper, etc.), mailing addresses, business information, and notes. The
address book also allows the grouping of the individuals into email
for sending news letters, reports, team schedules, etc. These lists can
make office and personal communications productive and efficient. If
are misused, they create an overload to the email system and a waste of
- The composition and editing of the email content. The sub tasks
the filling the header information: the To, CC, Bcc, and subject fields
the creating and editing the content, body, the adding of attachments
such as images, audio, multi media, and office documents), the adding
signature files that contain addition information about the sender, and
finally adding any special handling instructions like reporting the
and/or the time and date of the email being read.
- The adding of a digital signature (a recently approved law that
the adding of a digital signature that makes the email into a legal
or contract) and the encryption of the email so that it can only be
by the intended reader.
- Finally the sending of the email. In actual fact, this is the
of the email to the creator's email server. This email server is the
post office. Thus the send function is similar to the act of dropping
letter into the mail box.
The email Receiver Client functions:
The email functions on the receiving end are:
- The handling of multiple mail boxes (the user may multiple
several different email servers). The tasks include contacting the
servers and fetching the email. Depending on the type of server, the
file may be kept on the server or send to the client that the user is
- Lists the new and/or unread mail that has been received and to
by date or arrival, or sender, or priority. The listing may also
the subject or the first part or the message.
- Provide a means of display for the email message and the
- Provide a means of response via a reply to the sender, or the
all or some of the recipients, or forwarding it to entirely new
or groups (lists).
- Provides a means of disposal either by:
Provide a means of filtering the email that is creating a set of
about what to do with email if one or more facts are true.
- storage in a directory,
- placing in a disposal directory for deletion at the end of the
- immediate deletion
We see from the above diagram, Email Via the Internet, that
the email server has to communicate between:
The email server is an electronic version of a normal post office. We
describe the email server functions in two parts, the functions that
used to process the sender and those of the recipient. There two types
of the email servers,
- the server's client applications and
- other email server's that it is sending email to via the Internet
- other email server's that it is receiving email from via the
The email post office is responsible for providing its clients with
postal boxes (directories) that hold the incoming email for the user
a postal drop box to pick up the client's outgoing missives. The email
server makes the transmission of the email transparent to the user,
the user sees only the initial send and the final receipt. This again
similar the regular mail service. We do not want to know how it happens
just that it does so in a cost efficient and timely manner. The server
allows the user to set up directories to organize the email in a file
The email server mail may automatically save the various emails in a
directory if not the writer may want to use the Bcc: to send a copy for
a file copy.
- the POP3 server that transfers the email to the client and,
- the IMAP that saves the email on the server.
In the process we also want to feel that the postal person is not
our post cards. Unlike the postal serve the email server can have
that monitor our email. The postal worker can with, court order only,
record who is sending and receiving your letters, i.e. the information
on the outside of the envelop -- a cover check. Opening letters is
more serious matter and is almost always requires a court order based
a risk to national security. In general we can safely assume that
mail is not read by our government or our employers. The email server
the Internet are not similarly prohibited at this time from any of
procedures. More and more companies are screening email.
The Email Server Sender functions:
- Receive email from the email client that created it
- Verify that the user has privileges of sending and receiving
this post office. (Some ISPs allow what are called promiscuous users,
without an account to send email.) Email found to be sent promiscuously
via through an ISP is greatly frowned upon as it is a major source of
email called spam. ISPs that allow such practices are now told by
of the Internet community that their email will not be forwarded or
to be received unless this practice is stopped. The threat normally
the desired result.
- The letter is then prepared for transmission over the Internet --
the email address into an IP address and a routing.
- The email is sent via Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMPT) to the
server of the recipient.
- If the email address is not valid or the destination server is
then it makes several attempts and finally reports a delivery error
to the sender.
The Email Server Recipient functions:
- The server is responsible for receiving the client's rules for
the mail, for storing these rules for the individual, and upon
email acting on the rules. For instance, if the user does not want
from another user, the rule can be if sender is XX then delete.
- Receive email from other servers and place it in the correct
If there is no such mailbox, then generate an error message back to the
- Optional -- send a recipient to the client that the message
or was read.
- The server delivers the email to the client when requested then:
- follows the filter rules,
- sorts the mail via criteria such as by date, sender, subject,
- deletes and otherwise manages the storage issue.
The Internet Cloud:
We use the term Internet cloud to describe the networks and local area
networks that transmit the email. Email is transmitted via (SMPT). The
Internet Cloud is the term that carries the vision of how vaguely the
is viewed by most users. How the email is sent over this complex
is normally of little importance. That email is delivered reliably and
in a timely fashion is sufficient for most users.
The concept of a thread is based on a simple idea. If one person writes
an email and sends it to a group, and then individuals within the group
reply, and then respond to the replies, then we say that these messages
are threaded (all based on the starting message with the thread keeping
track of the messages' sequence). Hence, if after reading the original
message you are not interested in the topic, you might delete all
messages that are related to the original, i.e. delete the thread from
What is my email address?
An email address is made up of two parts: the user ID, i.e. your
account name, and the domain name, i.e. the Internet name of the
where your mail is sent. The two parts are separated by a @. For
the instructor's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can I do with email?
In short, almost anything you can do with regular mail delivered by the
Post Office (called snail mail by email addicts).
has some shortcomings. For instance, Mom's care packages of cookies and
Dad's check or cash cannot, as yet, can be sent by email. However, as
will learn in this lab, you can do some very exciting things. You can
a video clip, a recording of your latest musical creation, or an
picture or graphic to your friends and family. With the newer email
you can also send attachments such as complete documents (MS Word or
spreadsheets in Excel, and presentations for class or work (such as
Point files) that allow you to work collaboratively with students and
all over the world.
- Send messages to classmates and friends, family, etc.
- Reply to messages.
- Forward messages.
- Save messages.
Thoughts on managing email that is saved:
In the modern office environment it is possible to gets dozens of
a day. Besides developing the discipline to delete as much as possible
and to respond to the rest in a timely manner, there is still one more
onerous task -- What to save and file? The decision is sometimes made
us by corporate policy or government edict. The what and the how maybe
spelled out in detail and all that is left is to carry it out. Assuming
that there is no formal policy, good practice would be to set up a
system that is well organized and the email is accurately labeled. This
discipline becomes necessary to avoid overwhelming the computer with
Material that is seldom referred to may be stored on removable disk.
Finally, any material of any value should always be backed up,
i.e. copied to a removable disk or tape and stored in a separate area
protect it from accident, fire, or vandalism.
Spam (electronic junk mail) and how to avoid
Spam is unwanted electronic junk mail and it is getting to be a major
Many of the larger Internet Service Providers (ISP), AOL, MSN,
seem to attract Spam. These ISP have attempted to limit or control it,
but it is still a major problem Avoid giving out personal information
as social security number, address, phone number, and email address
it is asked for on the Web. Do not allow cookies to be set in your
(discussed later in term). Always ask to be removed from email lists
you really want the latest and greatest advertisements! Spam can use up
precious storage, bandwidth, and take up everyone's time.
Spam is a breach of good netiquette. It can sometimes cause rational
users to do some very ugly things There are those who hunt down
and destroy their Web sites and do other nasty things. These
are also violating good netiquette.
Filters -- Setting up automated rules for
The real work in maintaining any mailbox, the real one and the email
is the sorting everything out:
Modern email systems have automated devices called filters that can be
used to read the header information and to make such decisions. For
suppose you have found yourself on the mailing list from hell. It sends
you volumes of unwanted product information. The subject field of every
new email starts with: Jerks_R_Us Proudly Offers ... For such a
Jerks_R_Us, a filter can be created to take any email with that keyword
in the subject field and move it to the trash. Similarly, threads of
winded messages entitled: " how marketing carried the day" can also can
be similarly assigned to the bit bucket (computer slang for deleted).
memos (sent to yourself for filing of subject trip report) can be
to folders. Important letters from family, and/or certain managers
be sent to an Open_First_Email Folder. All the above filters can
be set up with a few keystrokes. Some professor's email systems use the
Subject: field to route the emailed online exams to a grading program
then sends it on to be recorded in course database.
- pitching the junk,
- putting off till later the nice to read, and
- identifying the needs and responding in a timely fashion to those
customers, groups, bosses at work and/or family.
Signature files let the email author expand his or her personal
within the email message. Items like business, mobile, and fax phone
business address and billing address, etc. are frequently added. A
remark or a wise saying are also sometimes added, but these may get old
after receiving them the second or third time.
Netscape has popularized "Personal Cards" or "vcards" that act like a
card. Users fill in their personal business data, i.e. business,
and fax phone, etc. in the preferences section and then send it with
messages. When a recipient wants to add the sender's information to his
or her address book he or she just clicks on it and it is added to the
address book. No muss, no fuss.
Netiquette -- Good manners that your mother
you work in email
Typing as a means of communication can lead to misunderstandings, so
newsgroups, chat and other forms of 'Net-based' social discourse have
- Emoticons -- Smiley icons and other clever icons made up of
- : ) for happy or :
- Emoticons are sometimes added to clarify the user's emotion, tone
or intent. There exist huge libraries of such icons.
A Few Common Emoticons
||Happy or Similey
Laughed till I cried!
Very Sad or Crying
- Abbreviations are also very common in email for family,
business. They are also widely used in newsgroups, chat, and other
communications that use typed messages.
A Partial List of Abbreviation Used in Internet
||Be Right Back
||Can't be bothered -- Not interested or not worth
||Expected Time of Arrival
||For Your Information
||Laughing Out Load
||Parents Over Shoulder
||Rolling On the Floor Laughing
||Read The F@*%*** Manual. A rude remark that is
used when a
new member asks too many questions. Avoid using!
||Boring --You are putting me to sleep.
- For an extensive list of emoticons and abbreviations, see : http://www.thirdage.com/features/tech/netglos/
- For more on Netiquette see the PowerPoint Presentation..
A Guide to Writing and Using Email Effectively
Treating email simply as a faster form of the ubiquitous postal letter
is a dangerous mistake. Email is rapidly being adopted by society and
but the user should be careful to understand this phenomena as a new
different form of communication. While this lesson includes a tutorial
on an email program to illustrate the features of a typical software
it is important to examine the issues of how, when, and why to use
The student should read and understand the material found at:
before going on to the next section.
©P. D. Krolak & M. S. Krolak 2000-3