Jeff Pack, Brown University '99 (English 112, 1996)
E-mail is probably one of the most useful applications of computers yet devised, combining the asynchronous communication advantages of letter-writing with the speed of a telephone call. Since coming to Brown, I haven't yet spent any money on long-distance phone calls; instead, I send e-mail messages to my family, or to friends I'd otherwise have lost touch with, and if e-mail's not enough, I can use a talk client. Likewise, depending on your newsreader you can almost instantly send a message to me by selecting the "mailto:" link at the top of the page (beneath the title).
My first e-mail address was through a BBS that offered one to anyone who would call. The connection to this was often noisy (resulting in garbage on the screen, or an unprovoked loss of carrier), though, and I didn't know many other people with e-mail addresses, so I didn't make much use of that. My next address (and the one I still use over the summer) was a feature of my America On-Line account and the main reason I have that account. Obviously, I've also got a Brown address through at least mid-1999. Nowadays, most of my e-mail's from friends at college back home, telling me how they're doing - the same thing you'd expect to hear over a telephone. Guess the medium isn't exactly the message after all.