As part of my social media advisory business I send out a monthly newsletter. This month I noticed something as I reviewed my mailing list. I was surprised to find dozens of people on my list that still have old school email addresses. We are talking AOL, hotmail and others. Not only do some of these people possess these addresses, but they publicly display them on professional social networking sites, such as Linkedin, as well as their business websites.
First impressions matter, and often people’s first impression of you is via email, or a display of your email address. The first impression these folks are giving is that I am older and not very technologically savvy. In a business world where digital is everything, and ageism is rampant, this is the last impression you should give.
The movie “You’ve Got Mail” came out in 1998, near the peak of AOL’s business, which steadily declined in the new millennium. Ten years later, articles started appearing about how old-fashioned AOL users were. Now, 20 years later, why are folks still using these outdated addresses? I asked a few of my subscribers, and here is a sampling of their response.
“I didn’t think it really mattered.” I wish it didn’t, but it does! Another common response included “inertia.” One person told me “Warren Buffett doesn’t even have an email address!” Yes, but Warren Buffett became one of the richest men in the world BEFORE email was even invented.
Lastly, some said “my current AOL (or hotmail) account is established with my friends, family and business associates. I don’t want to lose those contacts.” This is a fair, but manageable concern. No-one wants to disrupt connections unnecessarily. But you can keep the same address for current contacts while presenting a contemporary one for new ones.
AOL users can set up a Gmail account that forwards messages from your AOL address to your new Gmail account. Old friends and colleagues don’t have to change addresses, while you look contemporary to new people. Hotmail users can do something similar with more contemporary Outlook addresses.
If you have an AOL or hotmail email address, it is time to come into the 21st century. A contemporary e-mail address will improve the impression that you make with new friends and colleagues.
Now, can we talk about that MySpace account?