The way in which we do business in the 21st century was largely defined the moment Ray Tomlinson sent the first person-to-person email in 1979. Tomlinson selected the now-customary @ symbol for connecting a username to a destination and irreparably altered the way we’d come to communicate.
A quick look at how reliant PR pros have become on email as a primary communications tool tells quite the tale. Check out your media database of choice and see how many reporters have “prefers email” or “do not contact by phone” listed in their profile; I bet you’ll be surprised by how many you find.
During his speech when he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Face, Tomlinson noted:
“I’m often asked ‘Did I know what I was doing? The answer is: Yeah I knew exactly what I was doing. I just had no notion whatsoever about what the ultimate impact would be.”
Well said, Mr. Tomlinson.
In honor of your world-changing achievement and recent passing, we’re going to do our best to reduce to the email flood to reporters by remaining dedicated to avoiding off-topic pitches and focusing on one-to-one communication, which was email’s initial intent.