One comment from "Tenn Tuxedo" got me thinking: "if you want to see the future of e-mail, go to any college campus and ask the students how many e-mails they send in a week. Virtually none, they all communicate on social networking sites like Facebook. Sending an e-mail is just an inconvenience. To them e-mail is so 2005."
How true! I would add instant messaging to that list of "email substitutes."
In fact, I have had lots of problems with sending this newsletter by email. I estimate that 5% to 10% of those email messages never get delivered. I have found that alternative delivery methods are far more reliable. This newsletter is available online at the www.eogn.com web site, as well as by email, by RSS newsfeed, and on Facebook and Twitter. Both the Facebook and Twitter articles are very short, showing only the article titles and the first few words of the article. Clicking on either the Facebook or Twitter link then takes you to the full article on the www.eogn.com web site.
Reading the newsletter on the web, via RSS feed, via Facebook, or via Twitter works 100% of the time. Reading it by email is risky and often does not work, because various email providers block the newsletter with their spam filters. In come cases, the blocked messages are not even delivered to your spam folder, they are blocked completely at the mail server.
Various reports from people who should know claim that more than 90% of all email messages in the world are spam. All the email providers are forced to implement filters to block that junk. The problem is that nobody has ever invented a perfect spam filter. If the filter isn't "tight enough," unwanted spam messages get through the filters. If the system administrators "tighten" the spam filters, they start blocking legitimate messages. Nobody has ever been able to create a perfect spam filter.
At the FGS conference in Knoxville last week, I discovered that two different people have been sending email messages to me in the past few weeks, but I never received them. I have saved ALL email messages received in the past four years, except for spam messages, (gotta love Gmail's storage capacity!) and a quick search through the saved messages shows no recent message from either of those correspondents. Apparently, their messages were blocked by the spam filters at Gmail.
I agree with Tenn Tuxedo: email is becoming less and less of a communications tool. Younger users of the Internet have already abandoned it for the most part and I suspect that us "old fogies" will do so before much longer.
What is needed is a method in which the sender of an email message can instantly be verified with 100% accuracy. If that system was in effect today, you could easily decide which email messages you want to receive and which ones you want to throw in the trash, unopened. While various proposals for such a system have been made, none is available and in widespread use today. Instant messaging, Facebook and Twitter are imperfect solutions, but they are all we have today.
If you want to receive 100% of this newsletter's articles, I'd suggest that you not rely on email. Sign up for the RSS newsfeed or use Facebook or Twitter or go to the web site.
If you want to send a message to me, I also recommend that you not use email. Instead, use the "Contact Dick Eastman" link found on the newsletter's web site at www.eogn.com. It takes you to a page at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy//contact-us.html that allows you to send a message without going through email. Since email isn't involved, there is no possibility of spam filters blocking your message. Your message is guaranteed to be delivered.