Comparison Of Mail Communications

New technologies have always allowed us to do things faster, more
efficiently, and more professionally than ever before. Generally, every
new technology is a step forward for speed and productivity. But,
despite this paradigm, the coming of the latest mail communications
innovation has brought many pros and cons with the package. Electronic
mail could be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but there are many
who find flaws in it. We are now going to take a moment to compare the
speed, ease, reliability, and expense of electronic mail with our
general postal system.
The speed of transfer is an important part of the decision to send mail
by either protocol. E-mail has a distinct advantage in this category.
With the click of a button, your message will be received in a period of
5 to 30 seconds. Whether you are sending e-mail to a person across the
street or in Afghanistan, the transfer rate is virtually the same.
Also, data files and computer applications can be sent via e-mail;
however, large files will slow upload & download time even though they
are sent in seconds. Unfortunately, physical packages such as gifts or
magazines cannot be attached to e-mail. On the other side of the
spectrum, the postal service can send any kind of physical package, from
a magazine to a pool table, for a price proportional to its size. The
postal service can also transfer data if it is placed on a disk or a
CD-ROM. Speed, however, is a problem. Even the smallest letter takes
from two days to two weeks to deliver, depending on the locations of the
sender and the receiver. Even sending a letter to the house across the
street takes time due to unnecessary movement. The mail is taken to the
nearest large post office, sorted there, then delivered to the post
office closest to the destination, and delivered from there. In other
words, mail that is sent across town sometimes has to travel out of town
and back again to reach the final point.

Another variable aspect of the two mail systems is ease-of-use, which
can potentially be quite costly. E-mail has many disadvantages when
viewed from this angle. For one thing, e-mail requires some knowledge
of computer operation. Anyone who wishes to use e-mail needs to know
how to use the software that it requires, and one can only send e-mail
to other people with the same knowledge. Secondly, a computer with
various equipment is needed. Hardware includes: motherboard with
processor ($300+), hard drive ($100-$200), four megs RAM ($60), video
card ($80-$200), fax modem ($50-$200), and monitor & keyboard
($200-$450). The e-mail user also has to pay a monthly fee on his
e-mail internet account, generally ranging from $8 to $25 per month,
whether the account is used or not. The only financial advantage to
this system is that postage stamps are not required. General mail
differs in that the only knowledge required is literacy, and the only
equipment that is needed is an envelope ($.03) and a stamp ($.32). No
monthly fee is levied on mail users, and anyone can send and receive
mail. These facts show that, in terms of expense, the Postal Service
has an edge on E-mail.
Finally, we will review the reliability of each system. Because e-mail
is run by a computer network, human error is impossible. Consequently,
e-mail is always transferred to the correct address; it never is lost,
stolen, and its contents are never removed. Unfortunately, since humans
do operate the servers that transfer the messages, server operators have
the power to read mail that is passing through. They also can copy
files that are attached to messages, though the messages and files
themselves are not damaged in any way. The old method of mail, on the
other hand, has even more problems. First, since humans deliver the
envelopes, error is not uncommon. Letters have been delivered to the
wrong address on numerous occasions; checks and other items have been
stolen out of packages by dishonest postal workers. In short, both
e-mail and our traditional mail service are unsafe.
After viewing all of the details of each system, a declaration that
either protocol is better than the other would be sophomoric. Each has
its pros and cons. E-mail may be faster, but it is much more
expensive. Mail may be easy to use, but it is slow. Each individual
must choose which system fits his needs and is most comfortable for
him. The healthy competition between the two creates a better product
selection for all of us.

Category: Technology