What does your email address say about you?
It was a decision made years ago for long-forgotten reasons, but the legacy of your webmail choice lives on - and says a lot about you to strangers. We delve into the connotations of what comes after your @.
...@gmail.com - “Middle of the road”
If Gmail was ice cream it would be vanilla, if it was paint it’d be magnolia, if it was music it would be Coldplay. It does the job without glitz or glamour. It’s the sensible choice.
In fact, it’s so obvious an option that Gmail has become as transparently ubiquitous as the @ symbol which separates it from your username. Gmail says nothing. But in a good way.
...@btinternet.co.uk - “I struggle to send e-letters on the online”
If you use the email account offered by your ISP it’s probably because you don’t know how not to. It implies that emails will be checked infrequently, if at all, and that replies will come in 14 point Comic Sans. Often found on the side of a plumber’s van.
...@icloud.com - “I’m probably a graphic designer”
iCloud, formerly known as MobileMe, previously dubbed .Mac and originally called iTools: Apple has long dabbled in “the cloud” but is yet to settle on a decent name. Users of .Mac were given ...@mac.com email addresses, which they were allowed to keep when MobileMe arrived and started handing out ...@me.com. Now iCloud dishes out ...@icloud.com and there are people out there who have all three.
Essentially, they all say "I'm an Apple fanboy/fangirl who probably works in graphics or video editing". Which ones you have simply date your obsession.
...@aol.com - “I just got a CD-ROM in the post”
Those who remember dial-up modems, data screeched through tinny PC speakers and long, tangled lengths of cable connecting the office Dell to the hallway socket will also recall AOL CD-ROMs. Thousands of them. Taped to every magazine, jammed through every letterbox, thrown in every bin.
Jan Brandt, AOL’s former chief marketing officer, claims that at one point 50 per cent of the world’s CD-ROM output was being stamped with the AOL logo. But if you’re still using an ...@aol.com email address in 2014 it shows that you can't be bothered to shop around.
...@yahoo.co.uk - "My boss makes me do it"
One perfectly good reason to have a Yahoo! email address - the only one I can think of, actually - is that you’re on the Yahoo! payroll.
But even then, behind the scenes, many of them choose to use Microsoft’s desktop client, Outlook, rather than the webmail interface. As we wrote last year, three quarters of staff ignored a company plea to switch to Yahoo! Mail as a “matter of principle”. I think that says it all.
...@outlook.com - "Golden oldie"
Outlook.com is Microsoft’s current webmail service, but we all remember its predecessor Hotmail as the first place that gave out free email addresses. Using an antique Hotmail address is an ironically cool statement, in a way - the same as a Silicon Roundabout hipster who carries a Sony Walkman and a box of tapes even though he has an iPhone in his man-bag. But an Outlook email address shows a distinct lack of imagination.
...@facebook.com - "What is this, I didn't ask for it"
Facebook almost offers email, but sort-of doesn't. People can send regular emails to your address, which then show up in your messages folder in Facebook.
The feature launched as an optional extra and was then eventually forced upon users, as is the Facebook way. Anyone who publicly distributes their Facebook email address is basically saying: "I am obsessed with social media and keen to line the pockets of Mark Zuckerberg."
...@whatever.com - "I'm important enough for a domain"
Your own domain can present a polished, professional image of gravitas and attention to detail, or an embarrassing blog littered with typos and last updated in 2009 - it entirely depends on what website also lives there. And you know that we'll be looking when we notice that email address...