[mailhist-discuss] FW: Latest on Email Invention incl. my article

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Tue Apr 17 12:50:52 PDT 2012

FYI. Please help to spread the word.


From: Thomas Haigh [mailto:thaigh at computer.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 2:50 PM
To: 'members at sigcis.org'
Subject: Latest on Email Invention incl. my article


Hello SIGCIS members,


You may remember some flurries of interest a while ago in the "Inventor of
Email" saga. The happy outcome was that the Washington Post had asked me to
write an article outlining the actual history of email and putting the
claims of V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai in context. 


That never took place, but the article is now published in the blog section
of the SIGCIS website as www.sigcis.org/ayyadurai. Thanks to all those who
contributed, and I'm sorry if this won't have the visibility and impact we'd
anticipated with the promised Post website publication. For myself I am glad
to be done with this and hope the article can still help to put the record


A  number of people have asked me what happened to the article. There's an
outline of the whole confusing saga in a letter I wrote to the Washington
Post ombudsman, www.sigcis.org/node/330. Basically I don't know. The article
was accepted, but just before publication something killed the planned
series of four articles on the episode (including one by Noam Chomsky!!) The
only one of the four to be published, by Dave Crocker, is a useful capsule
history of Internet email but was published without reference to Ayyadurai
and attracted just two comments.


Ayyadurai's public relations firm is, at least as of a couple of weeks ago,
still trying to interest journalists in his story so perhaps we can
anticipate more press coverage to come. Personally I am glad to be done with


Other news from the world of email invention:


.         Another journalist featured Ayyadurai as inventor of email, even
after the Post's retraction. Callie Crossley on WGBH ran a full interview

.         Gizmodo ran a lengthy debunking. The quoting of one word insults
from anonymous sources is not really fair, and you could argue that putting
"crazy" and "man" a few words apart in the title is prejudicial. But overall
it does a good job of investigating.

.         Dave Crocker has set up a website and associated discussion list
to try to preserve the actual history of email. www.emailhistory.org. 

.         Ayyadurai's book "The EMAIL Revolution: How to Build Brands and
Create Real Connections," is available for preorder on Amazon for just
$16.47. Publisher is Allworth (rather than Norton as suggested by Gizmodo).
Interesting subtitle there.


Best wishes,

Tom Haigh


SIGCIS Chair, www.sigcis.org 


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