I do a LOT of emailing in my life. Sometimes from work, sometimes through my blog, and a LOT of times with my volunteering gigs. I have decided that everyone should use Gmail, thereby making their own lives easier. I’ve come to this conclusion due to how many times I’ve thought, “I’m SO glad I have Gmail!” and to how many times I’ve thought, “I wish that person had Gmail.”
- ARCHIVES. Gmail does not delete your emails. It archives them. So, no matter how unimportant you thought that email was 3 years ago, it’s still there in case you one day need it. You have NO idea how many times I avoid harassing someone for information, or for a file they’ve already sent me, all because of the archives. Especially when someone emails me a file and I download it on my desktop mac, but then a few weeks later I need it again but I’m on my laptop at Panera. What do I do? Search the archives and download it again. And I’m always searching my archives for stuff from over a year ago and it’s always relatively easy to find.
- FREEDOM TO CHANGE YOUR INTERNET PROVIDER. If you are using Comcast or Knology as your email, you will always hesitate switching services, EVEN IF THE OTHER SERVICE IS BETTER. Over the last 8 or so years that I’ve been using Gmail, I’ve had to switch internet a few times. Either to save money, or to adapt to a changing infrastructure or a move. I never had to worry about my email.
- FEWER LIMITATIONS. Without a drastic inbox limit, you don’t have to fret about attachments people mail you. But even if you do, Gmail is fairly reasonable. Gmail also allows you to send emails to 500 addresses at one time. This comes in handy for someone like me who might periodically send emails to teachers from an entire school system. Whenever I’m trying to receive or send a larger attachment, Gmail is NEVER the weakest link in the equation. It’s always PERSON X’s email.
- IT’S GOOGLE, IT WILL BE HERE AWHILE. If you have your email at a random domain, or even at your job you may not be at in 2 years, you always have to worry about what happens IF you change jobs, or IF you stop using that website you get your email through. I see very rare situations where someone uses an email at a domain more stable than Google. If you do a lot of email, you need to do it somewhere that has a very long lifespan, especially if you need to search the archives from years ago.
- FOR BLOGGERS: YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR COMMENTS. Because of the archive function (I know! It all goes back to that!), and because most blogging systems email you your comments, you will always have record of all of your comments. You may just want to search an email to see if someone has commented before, you may want to keep track of jerks, either way – it’s all there and you don’t have to think about it.
- IT’S FREE. Not much else needed there.
Yes. You may have to go through a bit of a headache while you switch, but if you switch NOW, while it’s your CHOICE, then you don’t have to fret about losing contacts should you be forced to switch in 6 months when Comcast ticks you off, or when you change jobs. Seriously. Do it. For my sake AND yours. It may take some time getting used to it, but knowing you might not have to switch emails until Google collapses? Is a very secure feeling.
Also – did I mention the archives?