Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Floosybell48 responds

I have a number of mailing lists, notably the list for the Popular Science website, as a result of which I see a string of random email addresses. What I really can't get the hang of is the number of people who resort to silly names. For every brianclegg@ or suziesmith@ there are two or three sexkitten384@ and fatbutfun33@s.

Several things strike me about this. Why would you possibly want to have a silly name for your email? Every time you tell someone you are going to be embarrassed. ('Hello, Miss Smith. This is the Inland Revenue. Could we have your email address to send your tax details? Erm, pardon? How do you spell that? Do what to a ferret? {Snigger}.') You might as well wear a tea cosy on your head.

Another striking thing is how many of these silly names end in a number. This means one thing and one thing only. Lots of other people have picked the same silly name. Now it's one thing to be called wetwipe, but it's another to be wetwipe342. People try to pick memorable numbers - but these are usually only memorable to them, so of limited use. (A worryingly large percentage on my mailing lists go for 666.)

No doubt the people who have these names will say they do it for fun. Why not? Well, yes. But it's hard not to suspect that they are lacking in self esteem (or have a very common name). Many of these email addresses seem more camouflage than fun.

grumpyoldman3921 has spoken.


  1. Thanks to Jean Hannah Edelstein for this comment on Twitter: 'It's like a weird vestige of the internet when it was an infant, isnt it?'

    It is, isn't it? Back when a) everyone on the internet was partly stoned student and b) it was all the rage to have a CB radio handle.

    But, of course, email has rather outgrown that past...

  2. I do remember that when private email addresses first started becoming widespread, round about the early 90s, that people went for 'handles' rather than versions of their names. The internet and email seemed like something you did as a hobby then, not the sort of thing you'd have on your CV. And for things like forums and mailing groups there was a genuine fear of being identified 'in real life' by some of the wilder inhabitants of the average bulletin board or news group

  3. I agree with all the above except that for most non work purposes I masquerade as father of either of my two children; for all other work purposes I have a standard address ie name.surnam@company.co.uk

    A more relevant question is how many people have more than one e mail address to cater for work and non work purposes? It still makes me cross as an employer to see my staff receiving personal e mails on their office address.