According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with founding email, has passed away at the age of 74.

A team of computer programmers at research and design company, Bolt Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies) in Cambridge, Mass., began experimenting with internal messaging in 1971. Tomlinson had an idea to send a text message between computers using a new network (and a predecessor to the Internet) called Arpanet, routing it using an “@” symbol.

Here are just five ways his main creation has revolutionized our lives:

1) We hand-write and mail fewer and fewer letters

There has been a 47% reduction in letters sent via the US Postal Service between 1990 and 2014 – from 268 billion letters a year to 141 billion letters.

2) The introduction of @ into our lives

The @ sign had been used in accounting to represent “at the rate of.” Tomlinson co-opted the @ as the link between the user name and the host domain.

Since this 1971 innovation – the @ has become the short form of “at” in various forms of electronic communication, such a texts, twitter, Facebook and more.

3) Instant messaging

Email paved the way to easier and handier forms of non-verbal communication such as MSN Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

MSN Messenger enabled a generation, the Millennials, to chat to friends and (attempt to) develop romantic prospects.

4) Working from home

With the use of a telephone and an email account, millions of people have been able give up the commute to work from the kitchen table.

1 in 5 American workers work from home – Forbes reports.

5) No escape from work 

The rise of the work phone and the 24-hour nature of email means employees can be reached at all hours by managers and clients.

In 2013, the German Ministry of Labor felt forced to ban managers from emailing and calling subordinates out of hours to prevent them burning out and France followed suit in 2014 – See more here.

Now more than ever, as a business professional, how you express yourself in writing matters. In our upcoming Business Writing course, you will learn key tips and tricks to creating emails that follow the unwritten ‘Dos and Don’ts’ of communicating.