Domain Shamed

at 11:43 PM
Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

The hipsters in Silicon Valley are always laughing at me. 

Well, not so much at me, as at my email address. Here in the Bay Area, birthplace of the personal computer, my email "at AOL dot com" makes me a technology geezer. I've been using AOL since the 90's, before some of those pierced, tattooed wippersnappers who run the world today were born.

But, in the dinosaur age of the internet, when it took about five noisy minutes to connect on a dial-up modem, before anyone ever heard of Google or Twitter, AOL was right on the cutting edge. Even the gleaming disk I remember using to install America Online software on my clunky desktop PC looked like something from a space ship.

But that disk changed my life. In the Apple II era, my first emails, sent only to fellow nerds with computers, was nothing less than a miracle. Pressing a button and sending electronic messages seemed so high-tech as to be from a Star Trek episode.

Today, AOL email is so old-fashioned it's actually laughable. One website called AOL email "the digital equivalent of an AARP card". But I'm embracing the humiliation. 


I've decided an antique email address is so uncool as to be cool, like plaid polyester golf pants re-purposed as club wear by punk rockers, or retro beehive hairdos sported by hip female singers. In fact, one day, 90's email domains like AOL, Prodigy or Compuserve will probably be as stylish as 20's art deco lamps, 50's convertible cars, or 60's chrome martini shakers.

And I guess the tables will be turned on all those "at iCloud dot com" hipsters who domain-shame me. Because, in the impermanent world of the internet, what's Hotmail today will be cold mail by tomorrow.

And, besides, my email isn't old. It's vintage.

With a Perspective, I'm Richard Swerdlow. 

Richard Swerdlow works for the San Francisco Unified School District.