Email may be old, but still current

When email was invented decades ago, it transformed the way the world communicated: for free and instantly.

Nowadays, text messages and Facebook messages offer the same conveniences, which is why a recent New York Times article suggested that email has become a nearly obsolete form of communication for college students.

For class projects, students often create Facebook groups or start message threads using the social networking site to discuss the assignment and share ideas.

On campus, professors who teach the large immigration reform course, for example, discourage emails. Instead, they require students to like a Facebook page, where class announcements are made and resources are posted. The same method was employed for the 2012 election class last fall.

Nonetheless, email is a necessary, not antiquated, tool – both in college and in the business world. In fact, The Miami Hurricane editorial board came to this conclusion by conducting a virtual discussion through email.

And, University of Miami students seem to agree. In an online poll of 122 visitors to The Miami Hurricane website, 63 percent expressed that they don’t think email is an outdated method of communication. Only 7 percent said they never check their email.

Emails can be received and read just as quickly as text messages, since many people check their email on their smartphones. On the other hand, Word Documents can be attached to a Facebook message just as easily as to an email. For that reason, the usefulness of email is not a matter of functionality, but rather a community’s culture created by personal preference.

Facebook has attempted to overtake email – giving its users personalized email addresses and allowing file transfers. But when it comes down to it, email should be used for professional reasons.

Facebook messaging a boss or text messaging a professor is rarely appropriate. Email removes the social element, focusing on communication for an academic or business purpose and thus increasing productivity.

In college, professors often send out critical email updates about assignments and tests. In the business world, meetings, calendars and requests are all sent by email. And that’s something students should get used to now.

You’ve got mail, students. This message is marked as urgent: If you aren’t taking full advantage of email during your undergraduate years, you’ll need to embrace it in your future careers.


Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

October 13, 2013


The Miami Hurricane

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.