Characteristics of E-mail | Effective Use | Free E-mail | Virus Transmission

E-mail is electronic mail that goes from individual to individual. You can use e-mail to ask questions of your instructor, connect with other students, participate in a discussion list, send your assignments to your instructor, and more.

Some researchers believe that the nature of e-mail allows, perhaps encourages, some users to be rude on-line. E-mails only use words. They lack nonverbal cues, so no one sees the other person's face, the hurt in the person's eyes. Flamining is inflamatory communication. "If someone flamed you on-line, how would you react? Would you flame them back? Why or why not? In your opinion, should flames be 'headed off at the pass?' That is, should someone put them away before we see them, even if they are directed at us?" (Gamble & Gamble, Communication Works, p. 323)

Effective Use

Following are some links designed to help you use e-mail more effectively.

E-mail for Beginners | E-mail Netiquette (Manners) | E-mail Resources

Characteristics of E-mail Communication

E-mail or electronic mail has already become a basic communication tool in today's society. Although the procedures used with one server or program may not be exactly the same as another, the basic principles are the same. The advantages are that:

E-mail is immediate (you may talk to a friend or colleague several times a day).

E-mail is free (if you can call your server with a local call, you can connect for free to anywhere in the world).

E-mail is personal (it takes on the characteristics of interpersonal communication and is casual and informal).

E-mail is an equalizer (you can access a peer as easily as you can access a "biggie").

E-mails gives you quick and easy access to your professor and peers.

Unless a message is encrypted or security software is used, there is little security in using the Internet. That is why it is crucial that you be careful about the kinds of information--a credit card number, for example--that you give out via the Internet. Any e-mail you send or receive through your institution actually belongs to the institution. Although the volume of daily mail may be huge--in the millions--no e-mail is necessarily private. Certain computer personnel have access to your mail and may for some reason choose to read it.

Free E-mail

Following are some of the free email services available:

Hotmail | Juno | Yahoo | Net | Find Mail

Virus Transmission

A virus is an infection in your computer that instructs your computer to carry out commands you do not want. The effect of a virus can range from annoyance to extensive damage to your work or your computer. Further, you can transmit the virus to someone with whom you share a network or disc. Although you should not receive a virus from an e-mail, a virus can be transmitted through an attachment. Many virus alerts are hoaxes (click here for information about hoaxes), so you may want to talk to your computing services staff before forwarding warnings about a virus.

Following are sites with information about virus transmission.

Anti-Virus Security Alerts | Symantec | Virus Information Library | Virus Safety

The following are recommendations that may help you avoid infection from a computer virus in an e-mail attachment:

a. Avoid opening an attachment unless you know the sender and she or he has commented "attached is a file about..." or "I've attached a picture of..." Even if you know the sender, some viruses attach without the knowledge of the person who is sending the e-mail.

b. Avoid opening an email from someone you don't know. Depending on your e-mail program, the attachment may open automatically from an email. If the message is important, the person will write again and identify herself or himself or the subject so you recognize who is e-mailing you.

c. Avoid opening an attachment to a forwarded e-mail message, such as a chain letter or joke. You have no idea who designed the original attachment. A virus may be designed to attack only Mac computers or only IBM and IBM clones, or the virus may be in the attachment and forwarded to you before anyone realizes the problem.

d. Avoid leaving a disk in your hard-drive.

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