Simplifying email is complicated
Has your email account ever been hacked? Has spam been sent out to your contacts from your email address?
Well, it happened to me yesterday. Again. As nearly as I could tell, the spam didn’t go to all my contacts, and only a couple of those people cared enough to write back and ask about it (no, I’m not selling electronics at cut-rate prices). But it was disconcerting. And a little embarrassing. I don’t know if I could have prevented it; I only know I try to employ all the standard safeguards. Yes, I’m a little lazy about regularly changing logins and passwords, but isn’t everyone?
Anyway, I decided to combine everything into a new Gmail account. And sure enough, it’s turned out to be every bit the headache I expected. Consider, if you will, the logistics of combining about 7 years’ worth of contact lists, email accounts (those you remember and can still access), and correspondence in one place. Each account had a different login/password combination. Some had been set to forward their mail to others, resulting in lots of duplicated mail. Some would forward willingly; some wouldn’t forward at all. (All seemed quite willing to forward mounds of spam along with the good stuff.) Multiple contact lists meant lots of duplications and lots of outdated addresses, not to mention some cryptic, totally unidentifiable ones (and yet, I had kept them … ).
All that, of course, becomes even more fun when you are working with an unfamiliar interface. How do I do this? How do I see that? Why can’t I delete that? Where did that list go? What’s this?
Now I have to notify friends and family of my new address and hope they all update their contact lists. (“She’s changing her address again??”) And I’ll have to change the email address I’ve registered with a variety of business websites. It’s not like you can ever really leave an old address behind, either. You dare not close/erase/obliterate old accounts. There’s always someone out there you forgot to notify, or someone who somewhere, somehow comes across an old address and knows of no other way to reach you. So you’re not really simplifying at all; you’re just adding another layer of data to the chaos.
And besides, you know what happens the minute you start setting up that single “forever” account — you’re asked to provide a different address in case they ever need to contact you!