PRIMARY school kids do it, Prime Ministers try to do it and businesses are hooked on it. E-mailing is becoming the 21st century way to get in touch.
Nearly 19 million people in Britain now have their own address to send and receive e-mail. The phenomenon has grown massively in just the past year; 41 per cent of the UK public over 15 now have e-mail, compared to 11.2 per cent this time last year.
More than half of British youngsters think that this year, they will abandon the phone in favour of e-mail, a BT survey found last year.
All-in-all, one in five of us prefers e-mail to the traditional methods of communication.
And while most e-mailers currently use a computer to send each other business documents, notes, jokes and pictures, the e-mail revolution means that very soon we will be e-mailing on the TV, on the phone and even on the move.
The BT Easicom phone sends and receives e-mails, but only has five e- mail address options. More useful is the WAP mobile phone on which you can phone, e-mail and send a text message to anyone you wish.
Technology is moving towards fast, easy and portable e-mails wherever you are. But some people are less than happy about it - particularly businesses. The problem is that there is no formal e-mail protocol and many who use this handy new tool are putting themselves at risk.
Graham Scrivener, director of the IT training firm In Tuition, says that whether sent from home or work, e-mails are not private.
Firms are waking up to the fact that they need to train their managers and staff in the art of e-mail management, he says. One of the key problems is managers who hide behind e-mail to discipline and dismiss their staff.
''In a survey we carried out last year, 82 per cent of workers felt their managers were delegating and communicating through e-mail and taking personal contact out of man management.
''Effective communication had reduced because of e-mail.''
Of course, the problem goes …