I get a lot of bac’n email, as I’m sure most people do. For the uninitiated, bac’n is sort of like spam, in that it’s email you probably don’t really want to read (or don’t want to read right away), but it’s not exactly spam because it’s stuff that you signed up for. Stuff like newsletters or promotions and suchlike. I have my Gmail set up so that most of my bac’n goes directly into a bac’n folder, but it mostly just sits there and I never read it. So I’ve decided to go on a giant unsubscribe fest – I’m unsubscribing from all the newsletters that I don’t read anymore, notifications of promos that I never use and notifications from various LinkedIn groups.
The really handy thing about doing this around Christmas time is that everyone is sending holiday greetings to their email lists, so I just click the “unsubscribe” link so I’ll have much less cluttered email for 2014!
photo © 2009 Zhao ! | more info (via: Wylio)
So yesterday I was reading Kalev’s blog and followed his link and then another link and ended up watching this video about Inbox Zero. At the start of the video, Merlin Mann, the Inbox Zero guy, talks about his very first email account. And it got me thinking about my first email account.
I got my first email account in the fall of 1995, when I started my undergraduate at McMaster. I remember *hearing* about email before this, but I don’t think I’d ever seen an email. If memory serves, it was my friend Therese who took me over to the science building’s computer lab and showed me how to set up my account in Pine. This was 1995, remember, so we didn’t have Internet-access in our residence rooms ((hell, some people didn’t even have their own computers! Could you imagine that nowadays?)). And the only other people we knew who had email accounts were our classmates, who had also just gotten their very first email addresses! Seriously, it wasn’t unheard of to arrive at your residence building after a trip to the computer lab and tell your friend, “I sent you an email!” and then they couldn’t wait to get to the computer lab to see what you’d sent! We also used to print out a lot of our emails – and we could print them for free on the dot matrix printer at the computer lab!
So that was 15 years ago and now I send emails from the phone I carry around in my purse. I have FOUR Gmail accounts, plus one for work, one for teaching, one for each of my blogs, a McMaster one that just forwards to my main Gmail, and old Hotmail and Yahoo accounts that I never check. And that doesn’t count the email inside of Facebook or the email inside of the course management system we use at UBC. If you’d told me all that when I got my first Pine account back in 1995, I would have run to the computer lab to print out the email!
So the other day I was complaining on the Twitter about how Outlook doesn’t remind you if you forget to attach the document you intended to attach to an email the way Gmail does. (I have to use Outlook at work. Not of my own free will.) And since my tweets automatically post to my Facebook status, someone I went to elementary school with 20+ years ago saw my lament and pointed me to this posting on Lifehacker. And now I will never ever send an email without its associated attachment again!
For those of you following along at home:
Outlook (≠ Gmail) –> Twitter –> Facebook –> Lifehacker –> Victory over missing attachments!
Dear Beth Simpson Who Is Going to Maui Next Week,
I know that you think the Gmail address “beth.simpson” is yours, but it really, really is not. I know this because that is *my* email account and I’ve had it since September 4, 2004. You see, before I got divorced my last name was Simpson and so, when my Uncle Michael sent me one of those hard-to-get Gmail invites back in ’04, it made sense that I would pick “beth.simpson” as my username. And despite my name change, I kept this email address because lots of people I know had that address for me and I didn’t want their emails to get lost out in cyberspace. Now, I’m sure you were bummed out when you decided to get a Gmail account and discovered that your preferred name was taken, but I must admit that I am flummoxed as to why you continually sign up for things using *my* email address. I don’t appreciate you having signed me up for the Great American Cookies Fan Club newsletter or the Kohls.com one or an account with the British Gas company. I’m not sure how it was to your benefit to list an ad for a room for rent with my email address as the contact – didn’t that make it difficult to find any renters? And did you ever get that furniture over which you were haggling by phone, but the decided to give the saleswoman my email address to follow up with?
What really freaked me out was when emails started showing up from “Beth & David Simpson,” as “David” is my ex-husband’s name. So it basically felt like my former self, as part of a no-longer-existing couple, was emailing my current self, some 4+ years after said couple ceased to exist. Freaked. Me. Out. As near as I can tell, these email messages are you attempting to forward emails from your bellsouth.net email account to what you think is your Gmail account, but that’s merely a guess as you’ve ignored my polite emails requesting that you cease giving out my email address as if it were your own.
So today, when I received the e-ticket for two to see a magic show (valued at nearly $200) in Maui next week, I had to wonder if perhaps you were intending this as a peace offering to make up for all the inconvenience you’ve caused me. But you seem to have forgotten to send me the e-ticket for the necessary plane ride. You can just email it to me…. I think you know my address.
The Beth Who Owns The Beth.Simpson gmail address.
The kind deed I did today was to email the company that issued that ticket to my email address to let them know it didn’t reach the right person. Though it would have been quite easy to just ignore the email, I figure that since Beth dropped $200 on those tickets, she might actually want to receive them.
I just replied to a group email and received a number of “out of office” replies. Most were of the standard “I’m not in the office, contact my assistant if it’s urgent” variety. But the last one was awesome. It said:
I am out of the office until Monday December 15th. In the meantime, feel free to tell Jodon you don’t approve of his coding standards.