A while ago, geeky reader Lorelei from Seattle wrote to ask, “Does the type of email you use matter (yahoo,gmail etc)? A tech guy on NPR seems to think it really says a lot about a person. Thoughts?”
Here’s how I personally feel about this:
1. Your email prefix means more than the extension (e.g. [email protected] vs. [email protected]). Whenever possible, use your name or some variation of your name for your email address. If possible, avoid numbers. Numbers just seem outdated and less professional. If you have an old “unprofessional” email address, go ahead and keep it for personal stuff. You can set up a new one to use for more professional communication.
2. The extension might mean something to some people, but it means less than the prefix. The only extension that seems really outdated is @aol. @gmail seems more current. @msn, @hotmail and @yahoo are just sort of…whatever.
I think the geekier you are, the more those extensions “mean” to you in the sense that you may pass judgement on people based on them. But reallly? I don’t think I’d refuse an interview to someone just because they had a Yahoo email address. I may, however, think twice if their prefix is [email protected] (Man, I hope that’s not someone’s real address, but it probably is. I’m sorry in advance for using you as an example! I’m sure you’re a nice person.)
- Here’s the original piece from NPR that prompted Lorelei’s question.
- Here’s a cartoon from the always-funny The Oatmeal about email addresses.
- A fascinating piece from Credit Karma that looks at what your email address may say about your financial health. Crazy!
- A post from Lifehacker that pretty much agrees with what I just said. (I swear I didn’t read it before I wrote mine!)
Lifehacker brings up a good point in their post: there are times when what’s most important is to have your own domain. Like my address @meghanwilker.com vs. my address @gmail.com. If you own a small business, it adds to your credibility to have an email address at your own domain instead of one through a free service.
Again, it depends on your audience. Most muggles could care less about what kind of email address you have, so if you’re selling teddy bears on eBay it probably doesn’t matter. But, if you’re looking for venture capital in Silicon Valley, it’s a different story.
Hope that helps! Now let’s just hope krazzygurl1980 doesn’t come after me…