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. Here's a guide to the personalities reflected in the choice of Webmail service.
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 to 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."
A big blast from the long-distant past (think 1979, for its first e-mail service) that's owned by AOL....and is very much still in business. Who knew?
Typical user: Deceased.
Typical user: A buttoned-down guy or gal with a deep love of all-things-Microsoft and intense dislike of everybody else (especially those mac.com fanboys).
Hey, um... it's free!
Typical user: Anti-establishment to the core, you LOVE your @operamail.com account simply because everyone constantly asks you "Dude, what is Operamail?" (You use the Opera browser, natch).
No E-mail Account
"What is e-mail again?"
Typical user: You are in your late teens or early 20s and you equate sending e-mails with using a fax machine, watching broadcast TV or buying CDs -- lame. You text and/or IM, and that's it. TTYL.
This story, "What Your Webmail Choice Reveals About You" was originally published by CIO.