Yesterday, I mentioned to a colleague that gmail had rolled out some new themes, and I was pretty excited that when it was sunny outside, my gmail showed a sunny landscape. If I chose the beach landscape, at night the sun would go down on my gmail. Pretty snazzy.
She was taken aback. “Gmail?” she asked. “Should I get that? I already use road runner and I’ve used it for years. I pay for my road runner service! Besides, don’t you get a lot of spam on free email accounts?”
Generational differences, I’m sure. I can’t imagine paying for an email address. And I hardly get any spam, thanks to Gmail’s great spam blocker. But in the early days of Hotmail and Yahoo, this wasn’t the case.
Today, I read that my alma mater, Boston College, is stopping issuing students BC email addresses (such as JaneDoe@bc.edu) because so many of the entering freshmen already have their own email accounts.
I know this is true – I started using Gmail while I was at BC and eventually started forwarding all my emails to my @bc.edu. I’m a big fan of Gmail. It’s really easy to check anywhere and you have unlimited storage so if you want, you can save every single email you ever received. My BC email account “expired” shortly after graduation and I lost any saved emails from that account. I can still receive emails sent to my @bc.edu address, I forwarded them to my Gmail. This means that technically I can still send emails from my @bc.edu email name, but via Gmail.
I see why BC is doing it. It prevents the hassle of students “forgetting” to read their BC email and missing an important assignment or schedule update. It saves BC money. But does everyone REALLY have an additional email address these days? What about professors – will they be given @bc.edu email addresses so students recognize the name? And what about the separation of our personal lives and our work/school lives? I started using my gmail account for all personal matters, but the lines are slowly blurring together. I’m curious to see how it works.
By the way, it’s cold and snowy in Cleveland today. I opened my gmail, and it shows a snowy landscape too. How cool is that?