20 Years Later, I'm Still Using My AOL Email

Derreck Johnson explains why
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2014 12:48 PM CST
20 Years Later, I'm Still Using My AOL Email
The AOL Running Man logo and other decorations are shown in AOL's New York office on Monday, May 12, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

You probably ditched your AOL email address sometime in the 1990s, but not Derreck Johnson. No, his AOL.com email address was born on Sept. 24, 1994, when he was a senior in high school, and more than 20 years later, "it remains my primary means of email communication," he writes on Slate. Sure, that's partially due to nostalgia, but it's also due to the fact that the address works just fine. Despite that fact, and the fact that Johnson is "a web designer with a robust social media presence," he writes, when people learn his email address, he has to prove to them he's "not a Luddite." But, he notes, "People don’t change their phone numbers for fun. Why should I change my email?"

AOL was falling out of favor just as Johnson was leaving adolescence and entering the real world, and at that point, the email address he'd had for years was an easy way to keep connected. "If I got rid of it, it would be like starting from scratch," he points out. And keeping it didn't stop him from learning about and adopting new technologies. "Is my commitment to my AOL address based on some subconscious loyalty to a brand that helped shape my teen and young adult years and carved the beginnings of a personal and professional path that I still walk today?" he concludes. "Possibly. ... But mostly I just haven’t switched because I haven’t needed to. My AOL account is still purring like a kitten." Click for his full column, or find out why another columnist thinks AOL email addresses are a sort of status symbol. (More AOL stories.)

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