Electronic mail or email is a simple tool for asynchronous collaboration in the textual medium. It allows users to send text messages over an electronic network from one machine to another -- usually between computers. Although a simple tool, email has proven to be a highly robust and effective collaborative medium.
- Its asychnronous and textual nature allows for the mediation of conflicting schedules and timezones, enabling more effective communication and collaboration across the potential gulfs of space (national/international), time (timezones/individual schedules) and culture (like writing a letter, one may take their time with responses, aiding in language barriers).
- Collaboration via email (like other web-based mediums) allows for more easily overcoming cross and inter cultural issues, as its dissembodied nature may bridge social differences more redily.
- As it is a medium which in many respects immitates turn-taking dialogue, email does not easily allow for higher numbers of individuals to contribute - however it does amplify the ability for inclusion beyond a non computer mediated discussion. This may be due to a phenomenon know as the Dunbar Limit or Dunbar's Numbers.
Email list serves
(write about this form of collaboration, linking to coauthoring.)
Related protocols and standards include
There are many different email applications, some examples are
- Microsoft's Outlook
- Web-based, such as Yahoo!'s or Hotmail
- Lotus Notes
- chat tools
- discussion (threaded, on-line, topic-based messages)