Do you remember your first?I remember mine, it was 1998 and was the first time I had even thought of doing anything like it. For most of us it was something special, a life changing experience. Some people have stayed faithful to theirs while others, including myself, have flitted and flirted with many others until they finally reach a stage where they feel the need to settle down.
Yet there I was, about to enter a whole new world. As a street urchin once told a hyper-sexualised princess it was a dazzling place I never knew. A hundred thousand things to see, shimmering, shining, gleaming. Sat there in my bedroom I decided that I was ready, it was time to become a man. On that fateful 20th century night I signed up for my first email address.
My email address history.
The first email address I had was a bit odd, for some reason the football club I support had decided that to be involved in this new fangled internet it should offer a version of webmail their fans could sign up to. As a result for a while I had an @acmilan.net address. At the time I thought this was pretty cool, but quickly learnt that not all addresses were permanent. Within a few years they had closed down their service and I had to look elsewhere.
Whilst doing so I discovered the second problem with email, if you’re not first to a particular service then you are going to end up with a duff email address full of numbers and random letters to make sure you have an unique name. It is much better to be GeekErgoSum@ than 1980GeekErgoSum12@.
For the next few years I drifted between @msn.com’s and @yahoo.co.uk’s with email affairs on the side with various ISP addresses. I was an email whore, notching up different addresses on my virtual bedpost.
I was just as promiscuous with the way I got my email fix. I did everything from Outlook to Eudora, if it offered a new and shiny way to get my email I was there trying it. I can still remember how excited I was the first time I discovered that I could get email through my browser (Opera), it was the equivalent of bedding Swedish twins. Both the internet and email through one programme, and lets not even talk about mouse gestures.
Once or twice I’ve had close calls, but I’ve always remembered to take care and use protection to prevent any infections or viruses. The last thing I would want is to inadvertently spread anything to others.
Inevitably my email transience has caused problems, I have lost access to plenty of messages (if I even know where they are), and I’m sure my old addresses are still in other people’s address books (although places like Facebook have negated that now).
I knew it was time to settle down when I met this bright new pretty thing, Gmail. For the first time it just felt right. I was able to get a good email address and everything just clicked. For the last few years I have had a monogamous email relationship (obviously ignoring all those work based flings). In time we have grown closer together, and learnt how to deal with each other in new ways. In the beginning I could only see Gmail when at a computer on the internet, but now we are inseparable and every where I go I can see Gmail in my hand. We have even broke that relationship barrier and I’ll let Gmail in while I’m on the toilet.
I know this is the one, after signing up for my own domain I looked to change my email address and baulked at what I was planning to do. I couldn’t imagine living without my Gmail address.
Yet the only time I use email is at work, and more and more I am resorting to other (better) methods of communicating with my colleagues. If I need an answer immediately I can IM them or, more shockingly, go see their face and talk to it. I can go a whole day without bothering with Outlook (and check my own Gmail even less).
It’s becoming as relevant as mail.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Going Obsolete.”
Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?