Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Contact

Way back when conversation: “If you need to reach me, I’m at MUrray-hill 5-9975.”

Fast forward to 1982: Tommy Tutone helps everyone remember the now-famous 867-5309. If the line was busy, you had to keep trying until you got through….end of story.

Enter the year 2010…and the common contact question is, “What’s your email address?”

It’s not unusual to find people with several email addresses. It’s becoming more uncommon to find someone who doesn’t have an email address.

One of my consulting gigs consists of reaching out to clients with updates. I’ve begun the laborious process of switching our means of communication from the now-outdated (and extremely time-consuming) method of telephone calls to the more productive, instantaneous method of the email notification.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person from their personal email address. I’m not talking about the business accounts here…I’m talking the ones that people have to think up on their own.

Sometimes, it’s something obvious like AlfredsMommySince 2003@whatever.com. (Let me guess: your son’s name is….Tommy?) Then, there’s the SusanKing875@whatever.com, in which I often wonder if what she really wanted was “SusanKing” but it was unavailable…and the server generated several handy-dandy alternatives…and she dejectedly went with option #1.

Then, there’s the ones that don’t make any sense whatsoever: FoUk8X9Z28SvA@whatever.com. So of course, they’ve got to spell it out for me and this is where it gets even more interesting:

Client: “Uppercase eff, lower case oh, uppercase are, lowercase kay…”

Me: “What? Wait…” (I don’t want to be rude but I want to tell them that their “uppercase and lowercase” means absolutely diddly-squat in internet-talk…it’s all lowercase anyway…) “Is that ‘s’ as in ‘snake’ or ‘f’ as in ‘Frank’?”

Client: “It’s ‘f’ as in...‘flamingo’, ‘o’ as in...‘Obama’, ‘u’ as in...’unibomber’…’k’ as in ‘candy’…”

Me: (Winces, but says not a word) “Uh-huh…”

Client: “8 as in…ya know, the number 8, ‘x’ as in (huge pause here) ‘ten in roman numerals’…”

Me: “What? Come again? Ten as in…what?”

Client: “The number ten…you know…’x’? Like, in the movies?”

Me: “Oh. Um. Okay….got it…”

Client: “Ya know what? Why don’t you send it to my back-up account? It’s JohnSmith@whatever.net.”

Funnier still was a conversation I had with a woman the other day who frequently emails me with work updates. Janice often forgets my email address, as she’s used to simply hitting “reply” to one of mine:

Janice: (On phone) “Did you get my last email with the updated list attached?”

Me: (Scanning my inbox) “No, I don’t see anything here from you. Did you send it to the work email?”

Janice: (Distracted) “I don’t think so…I sent it to the same one I always use. The ‘roll over me’ account.”

Me: (Smiling) “It’s ‘roll to me’, Janice.”

Janice: “That’s what I said. The ‘roll under me’…or whatever it is…address.”

Me: (Patiently) “It’s ‘roll to me’ Janice. ….ya know…like the song? By Del Amitri? You make it sound so dirty...”

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’m off to see if “roll under me” has been taken. I’m sure I could use it for something…

For anyone unfamiliar, if you’d like to hear my all-time favorite feel-good song EVER (also my ID name on Twitter, btw):

Enjoy!




carissa said...

First of all, I love that "Roll to me" song. Second, I would die of boredom were it not for the entertainment of my clients emails. I usually try to google them to try to find out what they do for a living. So yeah. That's why I think I should probably change my personal email address so that it doesn't have carissajade in it. Whoopsie.

Wendy Blum said...

Roll over, roll under, roll to, roll by, roll on(as in deoderant)Ha Ha forgive me I was on a roll there for a minute! Oh c'mon you knew it was coming, Kathryn ;)
My husband's email is oliverclothes. As in 'all of her clothes!' If only I could've seen my future with this man....
Good upbeat song choice =)

Gigi said...

My personal email is FAR more understandable than my work one! Add my unbelievably long last name to the totally screwed up and random way to shorten the company name - and you have me spelling out the entire 21 characters (along with the C as in CAT, the T as in TOM). It takes FOREVER! AND??? They still usually get it wrong (I mean come on - it's 21 characters - how could they not??)! It's easier for me to say - Give me your email and I'll send you my contact info....

Carol said...

I need an interesting personal email! I was trying to be all grown up with my name but maybe it's time to live a little......Commandointhekitchen? Whaddya think?

Kimberly said...

Ooooooh! I love that song! I'm going to download it from iTunes right now!

I'm so unimaginative when it comes to email addresses. I went with the first 2 letters of my 3 names (kianve@whatever.com). Yeah, I know. But it works.

Good luck with the transition to the 21st century! :)

Gavin said...

I love hearing about people's email addresses. And yes, I realize that may sound a bit creepy. XD They can be very amusing. Or interesting. I like seeing which side of a personality comes through.

Collette said...

I love that song but never knew who sang it! It really does have a great upbeat vibe.
It is interesting about the emails. About mine(which I use for most accounts unless unavailable, in which case I add "moon" to it), I have always liked the name Raven, even though I am a blonde. Since the spelling Raven is always taken, I switched it up a bit.
(((HUGS)))

Straight Guy said...

I can still remember the phone numbers of my elementary school friends, but I'd be hopeless today without the multiple ways to access my sync'd contacts database. Not very personal, I admit. But at least she shows up as "mom" instead of "dissapointedandlonelybutnotjudgemental@yahoo.com"

Krista said...

Roll under me... hehehe yeah baby... that's awesome. :oP

What *I* love is how many people are absolutely CLUELESS about the phonetic alphabet. I can say the correct one forwards, backwards, and while doing the corresponding signs in ASL. But that is from being a firefighter... you just have to know that stuff (not the ASL lol) if you're going to communicate on the radio.

I have email. And I have backup email. What people are most astounded about with me is that I don't have cell phone. Or facebook. *collective gasp* I know... I don't DO facebook. I'm just contrary that way. lol

Straight Guy said...

kidding

Slamdunk said...

Interesting topic and I agree that the personal email addy can be revealing.

At a previous employer, I worked with a marketing rep at a small business. The organization's email server was unreliable so I regularly spoke with her via her personal email address which was partially "metalbunny@."

We all used to try and decipher what that name actually meant--ad it usually translated to I better not hack her off.

ModernMom said...

Found you through Gigi and you have just made me realize my personal e-mail is way too boring!!

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

We still get library patrons w/o email. My parents still have no computer. I hope I''m never in that much denial.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I love that song! And you're right about the e-mails-mostly I just ask people to write them down for me.

Jenny said...

Dude. This. Is. Hysterical.

I have my personal email, and then my personal "business" email. I figured I probably shouldn't be sending out, like, hotbodiedbrunette2010@yourmom.com or whatever on resumes right? So I went all underscore and initials and last names and grown up stuff. It reeks of professionalism. Snooze.


My last job I worked with a lot of government contracts and they were ACES at giving out their email addresses. None of that X as in Y business. They would just say whatever word it was "as in." Such as... Charlie Baker Apple Ninja Pie @ Grover Michael Turtle Zebra.com instead of C as in Charlie, B as in Baker... I loved those dudes. No time for small talk! ha.

Lauren said...

My email is named for my original imaginary friend. Had it since I was fourteen. I'm too lazy to change it and apparently it makes people smile. So why not keep it says I. I have a school account for "important" things.

Nisa said...

Hahahaha. This is too funny! I got the same problem when telling my email address. It's nisa.flamethrower@xxx.com It's very hard to spell flamethrower for Indonesians. Hahahaha.

Anyway, my name is Nisa and Im an Indonesian and I've been subscribing your blog since its appearance on Bloggers's blogs of note. I read most of the posts thru my inbox and usually dont have a chance to visit your blog directly. Hehehe.

Please keep writing. I learn a lot from you posts. :)

Bernadine said...

Hi Kathryn

I can relate. I work with respondents and some of their email address are so strange sometimes. Like I have to copy and paste if I want to resend them a mail. :)

You should enjoy your Wednesday. :)

ValleyWriter said...

I remember when Yahoo accounts first became popular and I was so excited to get my own email (I'd been sharing my parents before that). I picked a silly name that turned out to have some sexual undertones... which I didn't realize the possible implications of until I went to put it on a resume. Yeah... thank goodness you can create multiple accounts!

JP said...

I used to work at Kinkos so people would come in and make/copy their resume...

I always loved it when people would put their email address on their resume and it'd be something like:

HotBlonde82@mail.com
12incher@mail.com
420yet@mail.com

Seriously?

For the first two, my general rule is if you have to tell someone you're hot (or you've got a big dong) in your username/nick/email/whatever you probably are WAY over exaggerating.

For the last one... you really want a prospective employer to know you're a pothead?

*G*R*U*N*T*I*L*D*A* said...

Guilty as charged for being one of those impossibly weird ass handle owners myself. I've got a knack for coming up with them too...

...gotta be careful you don't give them away professionally. They have a way of sticking in a life's most embarrassing moments kind of way.

Spot said...

I love peoples email addresses. My daughter, who has to collect email addresses at the retail store she works at so they can send coupons, says they get some very skanky ones like sexychic@whatever.com or lovessex@whatever.com. Really people??! Gah!

Thanks for making us giggle!
♥Spot

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

I love it when we get resumes from college kids and they list their email address as something like hotmamalovesbigboys@whatever.com or getshighdaily@whatever.com

Really?

Christopher said...

My emails are just my full name with a period in the middle. I also have riotstarter9@yahoo.com which I've had since I was young and use anytime I have to sign up with something that looks like it will give me spam.

Jen said...

It's always interesting to see what people will come up with for e-mail addresses. I want to shake the teenagers who make up ones that clearly will not help with attaining a decent job or college interview. Referring to body parts is never a good thing in an e-mail address.

Heather said...

For the longest time I would have people asking for my email address. Of course I didn't have one, now I have three! LOL!

Being so new to the email world, my first email address was extremely lame! Kinda like johnsmith@whatever.com.

Very eye-opening post. I'm going to be thinking on this one for awhile.

Dreamfarm Girl said...

i can't read 8675309 without humming it in my head. you know, oh-three-oh-niyyiyine. those were the days. but really, i much prefer email.and roll to me (great song) I don't understand people who are willing to put their personal sounding emails underneath their names in letters to the editor. yes, I mean in the real newspaper, made of paper. anyway, somehow yerstinky@biteme.com does not give one any credibility. oh well, thanks for the fun post!

Alicia said...

Know what makes it even funnier to hear email addys? Hearing them in espanol..uh huh, yep, that's right...Spanish.

See, I speak Spanish about 80% of my day. Most of my clients are Spanish speaking and English is my first language so you have no idea how difficult it is to listen to Spanish, transfer it into English in my head then type or write or speak it in English.

Then I have to do the whole thing backwards to respond. I think in English, translate in my head into Spanish so it comes out that way from my mouth. As if that wasn't hard enough, enter email addresses. Or correo electronico.

So say the email addy is babycakes@whatever.com and normally someone would say, "B as in baby, A as in apple, B as in baby again, Y as in yellow", etc, etc.

In Spanish it would be, "B grande como Beto, Ah como agua, B grande como Beto (cuz there is a B chica which is the letter V. I have no idea why that's B chica) egriega (Y), C como casa, A como Agua, Ka como Kilo y E (Eh) como Elena.

It's all I can do to not go running into the still of the night screaming and laughing and all kinds of crazy...jajaja (Thats hahaha in espanol)

Jenny said...

Dude. Alicia wins. Hands down, no contest, give her the trophy.

And I give her 10 extra bonus points for the jajajaja. I thought it was awesome the first time my Nicaraguan friend emailed me with that. I was like bro, you even LAUGH en espanol. :)

BlackLOG said...

One of my favourite over the phone letter spell outs was from a helpline in India.

Helpline operator - in a thick Indian accent, you could imagine their head shacking as they said "R for Romeo and finally L which stands for ....errr.....L"

Me - I said nothing I was to busy cracking up

Me - I said nothing I was to busy cracking up

BlackLOG said...

Kathryn, is is just me or has "From.... the inside out" developed a bit of an echo?, echo, cho, cho, ho, ho, o, o.....

Tina said...

I love that song! Look, help me, I can't find you on twitter. Email me the thingy please?

Viveca from FatigueBeGone said...

I long to not have an email address. Just read a beautiful book called the "Gift of a Letter." It has me longing for those times when letters arrived instead of e-mails. I bought a ton of stamps ... next month is "National Card and Letter Writing Month" (vs National email reading, writing and vanishing Month.)

My parents are two people who don't have e-mail. Supposedly Cathy Guisewite of Cathy Comics doesn't have an email. Can't prove or disprove that one but I always thought she was more cool because of it.

Cheers!

Viveca

kathryn said...

carissa: Well, who knew?? And you can always use your actual name email addy for friends & fam. It's just so entertaining to see what ppl pick, right? I'll bet you've seen some wild ones...

Wendy Blum: HA! Oh, I TOTALLY would NOT have gotten hubby's meaning behind the email addy if you hadn't told me! Well, we know what HE was thinking about when he picked it, eh??

Gigi: I totally hear that! What are the odds of someone getting 21 characters correct?? Not great, I'm sure! (Maybe you need to mix it up? Like "C" as in...cantaloupe?) Just to break up the day....

kathryn said...

Carol: Okay, I think the GUYS will freakin' LOVE you! (And will forever fantasize about you in the kitchen!) What a GREAT name!!

Kimberly: Oh...a fellow Roll to Me fan! YAY! Isn't that song the BEST? All these years later, it still makes me smile. Now, about that email....Kimberly...Ann? You look like a KimberlyAnn to me.

Gavin: You're right...that's just how I feel. I think you can tell a lot about a person from it. And the fact that you can have 5-7 emails per cable connection, how could anyone resist getting creative??

kathryn said...

Collette: Well, now you know who sings this fabulous song! And as for the "moon" part, is that your nod to all things hippie-like? Or more along the lines of Stephen King??

Straight Guy: I know you were kidding, sweetie. I'm not surprised that you can remember your childhood numbers but not ppl now...we don't have to remember them now...with so many different speed-dials at our fingertips...

SMOOG: You're right. Such basic stuff...yet it's fallen by the wayside. I totally hear you about FB....I have both a FB and Twitter acct and have a helluva time keeping up with them. Sometimes, more is just too much.

kathryn said...

Slamdunk: HA! Woah....major open-to-interpretation email address! Certainly not very professional, now is it?? Oh, God...I can't imagine!

ModernMom: Welcome! Well, your email addy may be boring but that doesn't mean it isn't a dream-come-true for those of us that have to record it. There's your pros and your cons....boring can be good!

Maureen@IslandRoar: Yeah, I get the occasional one w/o email. I'm like, "What? No? No...email? Are you sure??" No computer, though? Seriously?? How do they see photos of the grandkids???

kathryn said...

Oddyoddyo13: Oh, I'm glad you love the song, sweetie! Yeah, emails are great...but WAY too easy to get wrong!

Jenny: Oh, God...I'd be freakin' DOOMED with those guys! They're so...professional and...and...FAST! Like cops over a radio-scanner...I can picture myself...pen poised...not writing...!

Lauren: Well, that makes perfect sense to me. You've had email since you were 14?? I am SO freakin' old!

kathryn said...

Nisa: So...where did the "flamethrower" reference come from? I'll bet you get a lot of people wondering about that, huh? I'm glad you've commented! It's a pleasure to meet you, Nisa!

Bernadine: Hey, sweetie! Yes, copy and paste is the way to go. It's too many letters otherwise...and most of them don't make any sense, right? I hope you've had a great week!

ValleyWriter: You are so right! As Jenny pointed out, it's important to have a professional (zzzzz....) email address for those times when emails like "superhotbunnymamma" simply will. not. do.

kathryn said...

JP: I'm just getting ready to go to sleep (will finish responding to all these fabulous comments tomorrow!) but had to say: HA! I mean, seriously! WTF are these people thinking? Forget about the obvious references you've made...what about the fact that these people are putting these email choices out to prospective employers!?! Oh, so-not-bright....I mean, seriously!!

KT said...

ok Kathryn it's official. We are meant to be as song partners. How is that I always know exactly what song you're referring to? I totally knew what you meant by "roll to me" without reading the part where you said, "ya know... like the song?" LOL...
Anyways, I hear what you mean by the e-mails. I'm actually trying to convince the Department I'm volunteering for to do that, but the director is EXTREMELY archaic and is refusing modern-day technology as much as she can. Poor woman.

kathryn said...

GRUNTILDA: So true! There's gotta be one kind of email for work and another for FUN. Then, you're good to go!

Spot: Oh, God...those really are skanky! I wonder if ppl ever realize how BAD it makes 'em look. (And gee...it really doesn't make 'em look like they're trying too hard...

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt: OHMYGOD! That "getshighdaily" is freakin' priceless! WTF were they thinking??

kathryn said...

Christopher: Oh, yeah...always good to have the "junk" email. But, "riotstarter"? And with a 9? Don't tell me you were a 9-year-old rebel when you got it??

Jen: You said it, sweetie! Anything referring to body parts, sexual positions or how hot you think you are will not help in your job search!

Heather: Well, everyone has at least ONE "lame" email address...the first one/the one you use for all that stupid spam...you know. Zero to three! Way to go, sweets!

kathryn said...

Dreamfarm Girl: Ha! I LOVE the "biteme.com"! I think WE should CREATE that! Do you know how many people would join??!

Alicia: Oh, God! I would TOTALLY run screaming into the night! I have enough trouble thinking/speaking in ONE language...how the hell do you do it in TWO?? Kudos to you, sweetie...for doing the IMPOSSIBLE!

Jenny: Uh-huh! I totally agree...(you'll just have to KNOW that I wrote my response to Alicia before I read your comment!) And yeah...I've always loved the espanol jajaja!

kathryn said...

BlackLOG: Oh you're a riot, Alice....er, I mean BlackLOG. Thank you for pointing out my obvious absence...I was completely unaware of it till you helpfully called it to my attention. That would be "B-I-T-E, (space) M-E." Feel free to quote me.

Tina: I know! Isn't it the best song? I smile every single time I hear it...without fail. I've just sent you the link! Heading over to your place now!

KT: Oh, I LOVE that you knew the song right away! Good luck on convincing that director to switch to email...the worst part for me is that not everyone has provided me w/email, so I'm half-in and half-out! It's crazy!

kathryn said...

Viveca from FatigueBeGone: God...I've become so cynical that the first thing I thought of when you mentioned the "National Card and Letter Writing Month" is that it's a stunt originated by the Post Office to drum up business. (Hangs head in shame) Wow...I'll have to look for that book. Everything now is about "going paperless"...have you noticed this? Everything...

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