Despite predictions a few years back that email was dying off in favour of exploding social media networks and texting amid a seismic shift from computers to mobile devices, this simply hasn’t happened. In fact, it can be argued that teens (and everyone else) are more tethered to email than ever before. Countless crucial online service requires an email, from those now behemoth social media companies, to Amazon and other online retailers, banks, PayPal and even many of the core services available on our mobile devices.
Back in our teenage days we would more often than not select playful, sassy or angsty email addresses that would make us cringe today. In days past at Faze we had newsletters and contest signups by email and it was rare that we would come across a straight-up professional sounding email address that one would want to hold on to for a lifetime. Lots of goofy nicknames, e.g. annabananaface, questionable choices, e.g. dannysgirl4ever, and even x-rated ones, e.g. wetnslippery69 (yes, really! she’s now a well-paid advertising executive, presumably using a different email address). The guys were even worse.
Now that we’ve made it through those fleeting years it’s time to think about the big picture. It’s the email address we’ll put on our resume, portfolios, job applications, club applications, invitation apps, not to mention general communication with a wide range of personal, commercial and professional contacts. All situations where we will be open to being judged on our choice of email address.
Fine, no problem, you say, let’s just go with some basic variation of my name. Easier said than done, especially if you plan on using Google’s Gmail, the world’s largest email provider by far. As of 2018, there are over 1.5 billion users, pushed by the dominance of Android in the mobile and the billion plus users of the Gmail app for mobile. Getting the holy grail of professional sounding emails, FirstName.LastName@gmail.com, is virtually impossible unless your parents were wildly creative (or heavy psychedelic drug users) at your birth. In fact, getting virtually any reasonable sounding email address is getting harder by the day!
Do you want to use your name?
Generally, yes. It has the greatest range of uses, sounds professional to your business network, put-together to friends, family and potential dates, and work nicely for building your personal brand overall. But you made need to work the various combinations before you find one Gmail accepts.
Examples AmyWong@gmail.com, WongAmy@gmail.com. AOWong@gmail.com and so one.
- email address servers do not differentiate between upper and lower case letters.
- Google also allows only the . (dot) symbol in emails, dash or underscore won’t work
- you must use at least 6 letter/numbers in the username, not including dots
- furthermore, the dots really don’t matter to Gmail, meaning if your email is AmyWong@gmail.com, you will receive emails sent to Amy.Wong, A.M.Y.Wong, Amy.W.on.G, etc.
Good luck with straight up variations of your names and initials, if you can make it work, great. Unfortunately, to maintain your name in the address you may (ugh) need to add some numbers to your address. Common choices are the year of your birth, e.g AmyWong1990 or a basic number, WongAmy10, or even letters, AmyWongX (don’t use 3 Xs, hehe).
Be creative, in a professional way
If you’re striking out with a comfortable variation on your name, it may be time to mix it up a bit. If you’ve settled into a career choice or even an identify you’re set to carry for a long time, try to incorporate it into your address in some way. If you’re a graphic designer, perhaps DesignsByAmy or AmyWongDesign, a doctor, AmyWongMD, a patriot, AmyWongUSA. Another playful option is to see if a merger of your first and last name could work, if your name is Kim Kardashian, try on Kimdashian for size. Okay, maybe not.
Are you concerned about privacy?
For some of us out there, we aren’t in careers or networks that truly have a need to have us go by our proper name. By selecting an email address that doesn’t include our name, there is a sense of privacy attained, and it can be used to sign up for things like contests, e-commerce and newsletters without feeling like we’re exposing ourselves to unknown counter-parties. This is your chance to play around, and in a way, go back to your teenage years, but with a little more consideration that you may be sharing this with friends and family of all ages for years to come. Examples, ILoveToSing, SummerGirl1990, LoveShareGrow, TorontoWriter.
Don’t get frustrated
Regardless of your strategy, it’s most likely going to take a few (or many) tries to find an email name that hasn’t been taken by 1.5 billion other creative folks (or bots). It can be frustrating and can take some time. Keep trying, and eventually you’ll find a few that work. Ask a friend or family member which one they like best. If you can, I’d even advise taking a little time away from the process, perhaps overnight and then take another look at your options before picking “the one”.