Comparison Of Mail CommunicationsComparison
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
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.