This tweet came to my attention the other day. As you can imagine, there are several things I take exception to with @JoyAndDefiance’s post. First, did something happen in the email-universe in 2017 that I am unaware of? I should point out, @JoyAndDefiance, that I have been using one form or other of email since 1985 (likely in the vicinity of when you were born). In 1987, when you were probably still filling diapers, I was in charge of the corporate email system at Imperial Oil, the electronic communication vehicle for thousands of employees across the country. Feel free to tweet me to the contrary if I am wrong, but I suspect your knowledge of email systems and how they work is rudimentary at best. You probably don’t even know how to spell POP3 or IMAP, let alone explain the difference between them. For that matter, I doubt you could recognize a mail-server protocol even if it was served on top of your avocado toast.
Since you seem a little unsure about the history of email, let me fill you in, @JoyAndDefiance. I will restrict this recap to web-based email in particular, since I am guessing you are unaware that email predates the web. The Hotmail you disparage was released in 1996. Fun fact: the name was deliberately created to incorporate the letters HTML, which I’m sure you know, @JoyAndDefiance, is an abbreviation for hypertext markup language, the most basic building block of the internet because it defines the meaning and structure of web content. To put it in a context you might understand, @JAD (If I may be so bold to abbreviate your handle), it makes it possible for Kim Kardashian to post duck-face and butt-profile photos on Instagram. Then, in 1998, Microsoft bought Hotmail for hundreds of millions dollars. Not too shabby for an email system that is, according to you, just plain embarrassing. It wasn’t until six years later that Google launched Gmail. Microsoft rebranded its web email offering to Outlook in 2012. Maybe you thought this happened in 2017? Maybe you should learn how to check facts? You clearly do not have a Hotmail email account (because, I suspect, you barely knew what a computer was twenty-five years ago), so you are probably not aware that everyone who has retained their fledgling email toehold after all these years gets plopped into Outlook when they sign on to their (according to you) ancient inbox. The “Hotmail” part is merely a vintage vestige, like wearing your mother’s 1980s Levi’s ironically, while secretly wishing you were as cool as she was back in the day. Don’t tell me you never did that, @JAD.
I read somewhere that mature job seekers are advised not to use their Hotmail address because employers will instantly know how old they are. This is misguided advice. A Hotmail address, with its burnished patina, indicates a depth of computer literacy that could never be acquired via an iPhone 12.
But let’s leave the 2017 fixation aside for the moment, @JAD. You are apparently perplexed about why a person like me would still have a Hotmail address. Well, @JAD, when one has had the same email address since 1997, one is loath to change it, unless there is a strong desire to drop off the edge of cyberspace, although that thought has occurred to me more than once. But I didn’t, mostly because my 20th century email address holds an archive of thousands of pieces of correspondence that I don’t want to lose. And finally, @JAD, it appears that you are jealous that I have been vaccinated and you haven’t. Maybe you don’t know how to book an appointment? If you need help, just email me and I’ll walk you through it. And I’ll throw in a tutorial on IMAP, free of charge.