Top 3 at 3: Lessons from old emails

February 20, 2012

I was recently forced into confronting a former self. That self exists in my former Yahoo account- a testament to my life in middle and high school. It's shocking, but I didn't always worship at the altar of Gmail and all that is Holy. 

This long dormant account took on a life of its own a few weeks ago, when it began spamming all my old contacts. Sure, many of them (like SurferChick1874) were no longer active, but it was irritating to those who had stayed faithful to their accounts in the interim years when I had moved on. I realized I needed to get in there and clean it out, to transfer the emails I found entertaining and worth saving, and delete all those from Change.org. Behold, a few things I've learned about the process of purging a former internet self:

1. It is totally worth it to incriminate yourself online, if it makes a good story in the end
Those who read Ian Parker’s beautiful but tragic New Yorker story about college student Tyler Clementi and his roommate Dharun Ravi’s involvement in said death probably thought, “Hey, I’m never staying ‘on record’ in a Gchat ever again.” That’s because Parker tells a story that had been heavily covered already in a unique way: through the instant messages and emails of these two figures. For some reason, I got hung up on everything we wouldn't have known about Clementi and Ravi without this digital trail, and found it fascinating. Parker uses this source base to beautifully elucidate a tale that could have remained just tabloid. For some reason, I found this comforting rather than scary. Take that as you will.

2. Using appropriate spelling and grammar is very important if you want to be taken seriously and 3. We should respect and appreciate how far technology has come

This email below really speaks for itself, so I won’t set it up at much. The only context needed: I sent it to my mother right before I went to camp for a month early in my high school career. What have I learned from it? I’m glad I now use “you” instead of “u” when communicating with others. I’m glad we don’t still have to rely on faulty VHS tapes; what a bummer that was. I'm also glad that I no longer have to involve others in my crazy obsessions, because DVR and internet television exist.

From: Kate Dries
To: Mom
Cc:
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 7:15 PM
Subject: TAPE MY SHOW! do not delete this email!

Mom-
I am relying on u to tape AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL
every TUESDAY at 9:00 PM on CHANNEL 9 (UPN).
u should tape it on:
July 1, 2003
July 8, 2003
July 15, 2003.
this is 3, 1 HOUR episodes. the tapes are in a stack
by the tv, rewound and labeled.
i love u and thank u lots
love kate

Now you know the exact dates that America's Next Top Model was airing in the summer of 2003. You're welcome.