Friday, January 3, 2014

A Not So Insignificant Anniversary

I have two email accounts, one on gmail.com, which is my primary account. The other is my backup and secondary account, and after getting my daily update, I couldn't help but notice that I've had steady use of this account for 10 years. I established it on Yahoo back in 2004, and I can readily recall this fact because it's reflected in its address...joelal2004@yahoo.com.

Now, I realize that many of you are thinking to yourselves, 'Where've you been?" Sending and receiving email has been routine in your lives long before 2004. In my defense, I had an account briefly during 1997 on the now defunct Hotmail.com while I worked at Indiana State University. I more or less lost the bonus of having access to ISU's computers and with it, the account, after I moved on to another job in 1998.

I set up my Yahoo account while working at Eli Lilly (Elanco) in Clinton, Indiana. I lost this job in 2005, yet I maintained this account by accessing it through frequent visits to the public library. I found it to be a timely and convenient tool to keep in touch with my somewhat nomadic family.

It really wasn't until 2008, when my wife and I did what I jokingly refer to as "joining the 21st Century" and subscribed to home internet service and bought a PC. In my mind now, it's almost impossible to conceive of a life without it, and it really boggles the mind why we were such latecomers to the internet revolution.

Afterwards, my email usage seemed to increase exponentially. I began using it for jobs searches, bill payments, shopping, and of course, correspondence with family and friends. I even used it to establish a platform for pursing an online education. Sometime during 2012, my Yahoo account was 'hacked'. So, I decided to make a new account on Google's gmail service using the address: joel.wells.1@gmail.com.

It's easy to take it for granted. But, upon reflection, the technology of electronic mail (Does anyone call it that anymore?) has had a profound impact on the lives of millions...possibly billions of people. Yes, it has had its unintended drawbacks such as spam, hacking, viruses, and information overload. But after the having the realization of having a functioning email account for a decade, I can remember a time when when we all marveled at its capabilities.

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