Back at the old times, when I was a active student I used to use email a lot, for writing to my study-mates for setting up groupworks, to my professors to ask questions, for my family to keep in touch. Email started to be one of the main communication way. It was just so easy, fast and convenient. You don’t have to wait that the other person is available, you can write it a bit, save it and continue later, so you don’t have to bother someone many times to get all the information you really need. You can use email almost anywhere, especially if you’re using any kind of webmail, just have internet connection - log in and handle your mails.
Now when I’m looking back in time, it was really like that. But nowadays when all kinds of social networks and instant messengers (IM) are available, I can see that I’m not really using email so much anymore. It seems to be “too slow” way to contact people. I guess this technological awareness is really taking place in today’s daily life. People are getting so used to use different methods to keep in contact immediately. If one cannot reach you from any IM or social network, it might be that the person will give you a call or send a SMS. Just because they want to exchange the information now.
Sometimes I feel that it’s really distressing, that you have to be reachable always, because of projects, work, friends, family, etc. And if you are not reachable people will feel annoyed, it just seems that no-one is not allowed to have their own time anymore. And I’m not talking about vacations now, normally vacation time is sort of “holy-time” of course this depends pretty much that what kind of job you’re doing and what’s your responsibilities in the company. And who can say that after a couple of weeks vacation the email-inbox is empty ? I can tell you for sure, that mine is not. If there’s less than 100 emails I can be happy.
I made a little enquiry within our staff, that how they feel and use their email, encryption software and other software. This research was quite interesting, because the most of our staff is Chinese and I was quite amazed about some of the answers.
According this enquiry, I think usage of email is culture related, more or less. With this amount of data it would be close to impossible to hand out any inclusive report. I think that peoples’ opininions are anyhow quite different here in East that they are at West, I mean opinions among tech-related people. I won’t analyze the results themselves, just take a look and make your own judgement.
Well, here are the questions what we asked and also the results what we got. The results are in blue, that it will be easier to follow.
Enquiry - We asked for short answers with arguments and here’s the conclusion.
Habits of e-mail usage ?
For what kind of communication you are using e-mail ?
For most of repliers e-mail is mostly used for work or business purposes, sending data, files, documents and pictures when the receiver is not reachable with instant messenger (IM).
How fast you’ll expect that the recipient will answer you ?
The most of the people wish to get a reply within a same day, some even within one hour. Only a couple of answerer were satisfied if they will get reply within 2 or 3 days.
Do you check your email daily ? hourly ? weekly ? sometimes ?
Almost everyone is checking their email daily or several times per day.
How important e-mail is for you ? Can you live one week / one month without e-mail easily ? If you’re not able to check your emails will you go crazy ?
Here the answers were basically divided into two, approx. half of the repliers told that they use email only for work or business, so they can live easily without it, and they won’t go crazy if they cannot check their email (of course depending if they will work that time or not). Then the other half seems to be more dependable about email, and they will go crazy if they cannot check their email even once within 3 days.
What did you expect when you first time used any kind of e-mail encryption software ?
Did you think that it will make your life more secured ? (From what?)
Almost everyone told that they feel more secured when they use email encryption, and the most common reason was privacy. They don’t like the idea that someone is snooping and reading their emails.
Did you thought that what might happen if you lose your encryption/decryption keys ?
Here also the answers were basically divided into two, the first group admitted that they didn’t thought that what might happen if they lose their keys. The other group seemed to have some experiences about this already and it seemed to be that someones are getting angry for the software for losing those keys, even if the fault was their own. And this normally led for changing the encryption software.
How did you felt when you used one (software) ? Did it effect immediately, giving you the emotion of security ? Or all the worries, “What if ?”
For everybody the first feeling was very positive, strong feeling that “now I’m secured”, but some of the repliers admitted that later they start to wonder with “what if?”-questions and also feeling annoyed of all inconveniences with the software, like reading email in many places, all the time feeling worried about the keys and so on.
When you tried some encryption software, did you think that “this is it!” I’ll use this forever or did you tried to find a better one, more secured one ?
The most of the answerers have been searching better ones after trying the first one. A Few told that they don’t mind to change their software but the current one is just fine too.
How do you feel about Free and Not-free software will it cause you feeling of trust/mistrust ?
All repliers think that free software is basically just for testing it and seeing the main features. And that the not-free ones are better, more reliable than free ones.
When you see free software, will you think how nice, there are still some kind people to offer this kind of tool free ? Or will you think that is there something behind “hidden” ? Will this company use my data for something else ? Maybe illegal activities ?
Quite many replier thought that there has to be something “hidden”, but still most of these repliers were not so interested if the company uses their data for something or not. Someones thought that the software can be free, ’cause the company will get funding from advertisements or from some foundations.
By which criteria you choose the software which you are using ? Free ? Well known ? Easy to use ?
Every single replier told that the most important things for their software is that it’s well-known and easy to use. If it is free of charge, even better, but someones said also that if the software is good enough, they will gladly pay for that it makes their life easier and more secured.
How you can trust that free software is really free ? or how you can trust that the software (what was SO expensive) is more trustworthy than the free one? Can you?
This question was made in purpose to be familiar with the earlier one. This question raised up the idea what I was willing to see.
If the company offers only software which is free of charge the most of people don’t trust for it, but if they have for example products for individual use for free and for business use chargeable ones, then it’s fine. Then it’s the interesting part, the most of the repliers also thought that if the software is free of charge and open-source then it must be trustworthy, because basically anyone can check and modify the source code. Although, within security softwares this rarely happens, ’cause otherwise the hackers can see it too and then it’s not safe anymore.
Does the cost of software give you any kind of idea how good it might be or how trustworthy it is ?
The most of the repliers thought that the amount of money or cost is not really related for that how good it is. Quite often the most expensive one is having already so many features that it won’t be easy to use anymore.
Will you use any software which is delivered by government or other authority ? Why ?
Only one of the repliers is using software delivered by government and only because it’s required by the other business partner. Other ones thought that they won’t use any software which is delivered by government, because the software might include some spy-ware.