Internet Cool 10 Comments

A warning: this isn’t a post filled with fantastic links to Youtube phenomenons, like My Drunk Kitchen. This is about the kind of internet cool we all thought we had when we invented our really benign, daggy adolescent email addresses.

At this year’s National Young Writers’ Festival the air was alight with internet flickerings – Twitter sparks flew between guests and audiences, blogs hummed with new posts, and above all, email addresses were zapping around like the quickly dying fireworks of a sparkler. At some point, I was asked about one of my email accounts, because it blames someone called Jin Woo. Now, I still use this account for social goings on; giant raves, fending off PR companies with a hundred restaurants they want reviewed, and organising fishing dates – but I stopped using it for work because every time I distributed the address, I felt as though I had to explain that iblamejinwoo is not a racist jab: it’s a high school joke, and a fashion label pipe dream.

I have an older account, still, I used all through the nineties and the early noughties: it was my first address, set up by my father, so it’s no surprise the address reads: horse_crazy_rosie. Though I grew out of the address (but not the equine fandom) and into blaming Mr. Woo for no good reason, I still use the old account to secret expired trial World of Warcraft accounts, any misguided signups to online discount designer warehouses, and passwords to starving Neopets. Hey, don’t give me that look.

When a few Voiceworks Edcommas began reminiscing about their cheesy old email accounts, there was a unanimous nostalgia toward our early teenhoods, and a realisation that these one-to-three word sentences are a new kind of nanoficton, one that reveals our old, young selves: people who were convinced that by having an email address with attitude we were proving how unique we were. My piano tutor celebrated my iblamejinwoo email address when I had to divulge it to her. She said, ‘I love a creative email address. I’ve long wondered why we are expected to forfeit our imaginations or self-expression in the name of a professional profile. What does say about Phillip English? Nothing. Keep your whacky email address. It suggests attitude and a sense of humour.

Now, she didn’t actually use Phil’s name, and that isn’t Phil’s email address, but as a thank you for being my example, here’s a link to his delicious blog, Tooth Soup, for you to peruse at your leisure.

I’m with my piano teacher on this one. At the very least, let’s not cringe at our ghosts of emails past, and instead, cast a fond eye over those underscores and inconsequential number sequences that resulted from three hundred other people wanting the same email account name. Let’s allow our odd accounts to remind us of ourselves, and the stories that were once our very serious lives. I’m sure Virgule would love to know what your old email address was, how you came to select it, and perhaps you might divulge a paragraph from an angsty or gossip-ridden email hailing olden times.

  • Duncan

    Mine were all variations on a theme regarding one hirsute, mysterious creature, often with a number added: bigfoot4k, sasquatch774 and arsequatch (yeah…) are the three that come to mind. I blame a younger fascination with Harry and the Hendersons, or something.

    But it’s nice to know I’m not the only one that holds on to one or two of the old email addresses for spammy, junky, (not-so) guilty email pleasures.

  • phill

    Hah! It’s funny that you should talk of emails as stories, as I have a very vidid memory of a bus ride down to Denmark that I took with a friend of mine where we spent a good hour or two taking turns writing email addresses. Not one we would ever use, but just funny ones. Like unicorn_on_a_stick, or weavil_blood. Weird to think about, but we thought it was hilarious.

    As for myself, I was originally spankster_trippin (a weird interpretation of the Fat Boy Slim song title), then phencer0 (phill english, plus y’know, fencing or whatever). Then I think I settled down with email addresses, although I kept up my alias-changing addiction in video games (I think I changed nick every 2 months or so, eventually settling on flax/flx_- which I use fairly reliably nowadays).

  • Alexandra

    My first email account was xela. Just four letters. I know, I’m letting the team down. It is, which I thought was very clever at the time, alex backwards. I used to pronounce it x-ella.

    I kind of still have this problem with my Twitter username- paper_bag_girl. Serves me right for accidentally choosing a combination of words with several derogatory meanings.

  • Johannes Jakob

    Hey spam crawler things, check out this disused email you can spam:

    That was my joint for a long time. It didn’t really make sense. It was that glorious early-mid-naughties time where like 50%+ of aliases followed that adjective then noun model and I just came up with two dumb things because this time overlapped with that equally great period in adolescence where ‘random’ equates with ‘funny’ 100% of the time.

  • Rosanna Stevens

    Phill English, I will die of joy if you play WoW.

  • Rosanna Stevens

    (Also, — LOL, Randommmm! — anyone else utilise that phrase during the early noughties?)

  • Johannes Jakob

    Listen everyone I played WoW back before it was cool when it was in a little thing called open beta, so everyone playing it now can just eat it, alright? That was a time called 2004. I was just like part of the raid group that took down Onyxia for the first time on our server. Whatever. Like, nbd.

    Then it got too cool and popular so I had to stop playing because of my street cred.

  • phill

    Oh yes, I’ve played WoW. I played it for about 6 months directly after it came out, and went back two or three times before dusting my hands of it. I’ve also played Guild Wars, Lineage 2, Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, Hellgate, and Lord of the Rings Online, to name a few. Every time a new MMO comes out I get excited that it might not be an epic grindfest with lame end-game content. And every time I’m disappointed. I stick to the FPS genre nowadays because it’s easy drop-in, drop-out.

  • Hannah

    Holy cheeses, I am SO glad I’m not the only person above 12 who still has a Neopets account.

    I think I had the worst of old hotmail addresses as a teenager; it’s not even one you can laugh at. It’s my first name followed by the phrase “horse friend” between underscores.

    In elvish.

  • Rosanna

    You’re my hero, Hannah.

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