Are you prejudice or have strong biases? I do not think of myself as the former, but definitely the latter. Then I looked at the definitions…and realized I can be both without really being aware of it.
Prejudice = preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
Biased = unfairly prejudiced for or against someone or something.
So…what does this have to do about a simple email address? Well…I have prejudice/strong bias about certain email domains. I know that sounds trite and petty, but it is true. And I am convinced that I am not the only one (check out this funny graphic). Let me explain.
When I receive an email and the domain is @AOL or @YAHOO or @EARTHLINK or @HOTMAIL, I have an immediate prejudice…in the purest sense of the word. I make a preconceived judgement and opinion of the person who sent the email. Here is my list of first impressions:
- This person is old (older than me…maybe older than my dad!)
- They are not technical
- The are still on Windows 98
- They are living 20 years in the past
- They don’t like change
As the above definition so aptly describes, I made a decision not based on reason or any actual experience. I realize that is not “fair” and the person may be highly technical and only 25 years old (but not likely). They may be using an Apple product and have the iPhone X (again…probably not). But the fact remains, I made a biased judgement of that person.
Do you know what else…others may be as well. I was recently at a church technology conference talking with some of my peers when this exact topic came up. They were all sharing stories about how they do the exact same thing and try to get their clients to update their addresses to “modern” applications or custom domains. For example, tim at coolsolutionsgroup dot com is actually an alias for a Gmail address.
So…who cares? In some cases it is totally irrelevant…but there are some instances where your email tells a story that could hurt you such as:
- Looking for a new job – don’t look like you are not tech savvy or living in the past
- Communicating with church staff – don’t “date” yourself to leaders that may be younger than you
- Seeking assistance with software products – enough said
- Communicating with people how relevant you are – you get it
Does anyone else agree with me?