Gmail

All hail Gmail! AOL? LOL!

By Bob Fisch

You’ve got mail!

If that phrase is instantly familiar to you, chances are you’ve used AOL email in the past and may still be using it. You’re probably a Gen Xer or older.

If those three words don’t ring a bell, you’ve probably never used AOL email and wouldn’t be caught dead using it. You’re probably a Millennial or younger, and I’d bet you’re using Gmail.

Like it or not, we live in a time when how we use technology and which technology we use says something about who we are. If you think about it, there is a kind of techno-logic to that, isn’t there?

Take me, for example. As originator of the Millennial Baby Boomer brand, my daily goal is to combine the wisdom of the ages (the Baby Boomer ages, that is) with the youthful passion of Generation Y (aka Millennials).

The Baby Boomer in me has been a proud user of AOL email for some 25 years—and I love it! I like to plan far ahead in whatever I do, and I can assure you that this proud AOL email user is not going AWOL any time soon.

Under normal circumstances, you’d think that kind of loyalty and stick-to-it-iveness would be rewarded.

I’m not asking for a parade down Fifth Avenue, mind you, but at least a little show of admiration for my passion might be forthcoming from just one of the many Millennials I mentor. Instead, they give me grief.

Don’t get me wrong; the members of my Millennial Advisory Board—which I formed as I wrote Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer (ForbesBooks 2019)—always exhibit plenty of passion. This passion extends to their disbelief, and slight amusement, that I insist on using AOL instead of Gmail, the Millennial email of choice. Their rallying cry may as well be “All hail Gmail! AOL? LOL!”

Did you know there’s even a category of comedy about AOL email. I kid you not! One website (jokeblogger.com) lists no less than 180 jokes on the topic. I get kidded about it myself. When the founder of Facebook testified before Congress about social media privacy, one comic’s post said “Mark Zuckerberg is going to be grilled for hours by people who still use AOL.”

For Millennials, single-letter brand names are all the rage. Think about it. Facebook’s logo is an “F,” Netflix’s logo is an “N,” Pinterest’s logo is a “P.” So, I guess a single-letter email brand like Gmail is so much cooler than three unwieldy letters like AOL. There’s no time for that!

Yes, I know all about how because Gmail is part of the Google extended family of services that it works well with other cute little Google toys like YouTube and that there are all kinds of extensions for Gmail that can enhance its use. I know you can create any number of email addresses. Why would I want to do that, though?

I know all that Gmail can do, and to that I say, “YAWN! Don’t care. Not impressed. Big deal.”

I find Gmail cluttered and even confusing. I like to keep my life simple and reliable. AOL email does that for me.

Not only that, but instead of being connected to all kinds of other stuff I don’t want and don’t need, I find AOL cleaner, easier to use, and more convenient than head-spinning Gmail.

With AOL, I have everything I want to know about what’s going on in my world and the rest of the world at my fingertips.

That’s why I wear my quarter-century of dedication to AOL as a badge of honor. I welcome the jokes and the good-natured teasing it brings me. I’m proud of the fact that I stick by my friends, and AOL has been very, very good to me. To my Millennial friends, if you ever want me to show you how to use AOL, you know how to contact me: rnf23@aol.com.