Several years ago I went through the laborious task of switching email addresses. This time I really wanted it to stick, because in addition to notifying everyone that I interact with about the change, it takes literally days to manually change the contact details for every web site I use — and that’s with a password manager providing me with a handy checklist. I can’t even imagine trying to make a list of accounts across the web off the top of my head.

I knew that I was going to use my peteforde.com domain, but that left the small question of what my new email address should be.

Believe it or not, I stared at this list so long that I ended up sending an informal survey to about 40 of my friends seeking opinions. I’ve seen them all used, but there’s no convention.

[email protected] was a contender and I see people follow this pattern often, but the repetition really bugged me.

To my eyes, [email protected] looks like a general catch-all mailbox, because that’s how business domains do it. You don’t think that you’re going to reach a human.

[email protected] is just grammatically awkward, and feels oddly self-centred. On the other hand, [email protected] feels too casual. You know how it’s hard to trust someone that’s a bit too friendly a bit too early?

In the end and after much deliberation, I went with [email protected] and I’m still glad that I did. I like that it’s friendly, a bit bold and I can have fun saying it out loud — I always say it “Hello!”, as though I am greeting an old friend. I never have to repeat it or spell it over the phone.

It’s worth noting that two of my friends explicitly did not like [email protected], I think because they felt it wasn’t professional enough. So far it hasn’t caused me any issues that I’m aware of.


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