Almost everyone has a personal e-mail account today, and which provider you choose says a lot about who you are and what you stand for.
An Apple Fanboy to the extreme, you have either an elegantly-designed tattoo of Steve Jobs on your body or an iPod pocket sewn into all of your clothing.
TYPICAL USER: Usually found in the hippest non-chain coffee shop, typing on a US$3,000-precision-aluminum-unibody-enclosed MacBook Pro, white earbuds in proper position and iPhone 3G at the ready. And if Apple invented a laptop with a cumbersome wheel instead of a keyboard, you'd buy it. Fact.
When Gmail rolled out in 2004, you thought you were pretty darn special because someone had invited you use the free service and you could ditch your now-passé @yahoo.com account.
TYPICAL USER: Thirtysomethings who are trying to feel as cool as twentysomethings and who also hate Microsoft ( mostly because they think it's cool to hate Microsoft) and have entrusted entirely too much of their personal information to those "Do No Evil" Google guys.
Yahoo! was such the place to be in the late '90s-with its personalized portal technology-and you loved having a non-work-e-mail account to do all kinds of secret e-mail-forwarding stuff.
TYPICAL USER: Non-IT-industry worker who has been too lazy to sign up for Gmail.
Having that handle was da bomb in the 1990s...and then AOL Mail bombed as dial-up service was left for dead by DSL and broadband ISPs. AOL has since shed millions of its former AOL Mail devotees who loved nothing more than to hear "You've Got Mail!"
TYPICAL USER: You fit one of these two categories: You qualify to have the AARP magazine delivered to you, and you'll be damned if you're going to give up your 'firstname.lastname@example.org' address. Or, there are those on the slightly younger side: Soccer moms who still run Windows 95 because their husband, who has an @comcast account linked to his Microsoft Outlook, is too cheap to buy a new computer, especially when "the kids will just ruin it with malware from Facebook."
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