I got my first email address when I was nine years old. So quick off the mark was I that it’s actually got my name in it, rather than some trendy-at-the-time alternative like HaPpYh0llyis@whatever.com.
Because I grew up in the 90s – I know what I’m doing, you see.
I did Myspace and Bebo and Facebook and that Encarta game where you went round a medieval maze answering trivia questions. Heck, we even learnt a little bit of coding at university. Well, I’m sure some people in the class did anyway.
So the internet is supposed to be my domain.
Then I discovered that I didn’t even know what domain meant.
Over the past couple of decades aforementioned email address from age nine has become irretrievably clogged by mailing lists, spa vouchers and unique investment opportunities from Nigerian Kings.
So the idea of starting afresh for freelancing was quite appealing. I figure having a separate work email gives me the opportunity to switch off if I want to. And I also figured it would be super easy.
But apparently I’m not the internet whizz I thought I was.
Here are some words, guess which ones are internet speak and which I’ve just made up:
Trick question – they’re all real!!
It turns out that setting up an email address is not, in fact, just a simple case of a quick sign-up here, a click of a button there, pick your favourite font and off you go.
It started off well enough. I was elated to discover that the domain name (had to Google what that was) hollyblack.co.uk was available for a very reasonable price.
Although I was also slightly miffed that no one else had wanted her.
But hollyblack.co.uk wasn’t really anything at all, she existed only in the ether, and she certainly didn’t come armed with an email address.
The internet was no help. There really is too much information out there.
After three frustrating hours of online research and half an hour on the phone to an expert I was a little disappointed that the answer was: use Gmail.
Then I got stuck in an awful ‘chicken and egg situation’.
Google will let me set up an email address for my business, but only once I have told my domain host to forward emails from that address (which doesn’t currently exist) on to Gmail.
It makes no sense!
My brother thought I was overcomplicating things.
Google thought I should change my advanced DNS settings.
I thought I should eat some chocolate.
After that (Milky Bar, in case you were wondering) I calmly asked Google to be a bit more explicit.
It gave me a list of steps to follow. I didn’t understand any of them but there was a wonderful little box to tick after each one, which really did add a sense of achievement to proceedings.
To anyone else doing this I can only offer this advice: just do what it tells you and don’t try to understand it. Because these are not words, someone clearly just palm-smashed the keyboard many years ago and doesn’t want to admit it and no one else has realised yet.
After I checked all the boxes there was a tense countdown while it synced and verified and threatened that the procedure might take 72 hours. But eventually we’re done. And it only costs £3 a month for the privilege.
The first message I sent from my new business email is poignant to say the least.
I’m an email, I’m an email!!