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 accounts1, 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!