I mentioned earlier that as recently as a year or so ago, I was using a very old mail program called Eudora.

Yes, I am married to one of the most highly respected high-tech journalists in the world, and I am usually forced kicking and screaming into new technology.

Eudora had some good things.  I couldn’t receive anything in HTML and couldn’t receive photo images.  Pretty lame.  It was also almost impossible to get a computer virus.

So I was  slow and out of most loops, but I was safe.

Eventually my husband convinced me to move to another program.  It was better, and I got used to it.

Then last year, he suggested I switch again, to Gmail.

Well, I just about threw a fit.  I’m at the age where, in order to learn something new, an old fact has to leave the building.  And I already can’t remember my mother’s birthday.

Learn a new mail program?  Again?!!  No way, Jose.  (Or as my daughter used to misquote when she was four, “I say you’re wrong, Jose!”)   Why on earth would I want to put myself through that learning curve?

He told me.  It sounded good.  I tried it.

It’s true!    

With Gmail, all conversations are threaded.  That means if you and I have an e-mail discussion, our complete discussion is “hooked” together.  In fact, all our e-mails will appear in subsequent replies.

This sounds cumbersome, but it’s not.  Because in Gmail, all that extra text is suppressed unless you click on a link within that e-mail.    It doesn’t actually print out unless you want it to, or til you want it to.

When you or that other person reply in the thread, the entire thread is bumped back up in your “in box”.  So if they reply today to your e-mail from last week, you don’t have to go back to last week to find that.   And the entire conversation comes along with it.

As much of the subject line, and the first line of the e-mail, appear in your in box.  This seemed like a little thing.  But it’s actually hugely helpful for finding the right e-mail when you’re looking for a specific one.

Which brings me to the best thing about Gmail:

You can search it!

You can search it just as easily as searching the web.  Gmail is Google mail, after all.  (Did I forget to say that?  Yes, I did.  Sorry!)

If I want to find that conversation I had with a magazine editor two months ago, I don’t have to search back two months and guess what day we talked.  I don’t even have to pick dates to search.  I can simply search for a few keywords–the name of the magazine, or his name or what we were talking about.

Gmail will pull up every e-mail thread with those keywords.  Not just the separate e-mails, but the entire threads.

It’s then a simple thing to find the conversation I want and find the information I need.

The only drawback was losing my e-mail with my domain name and website in it (although Jon set it up so I can still receive mail sent to luann@luannudell.com, so that isn’t a big deal.)

But I’m finding luannudell@gmail.com is a lot easier for folks to remember than  even my old domain name e-mail.  I think that’s because even I have trouble remembering if a good friend’s domain name e-mail is bob@bobtheguineapig.com, or bobtheguineapig@bobtheguineapig.com, or info@bobtheguineapig.com, etc.

So my business tip for you today is, go grab your name at Gmail.  Try it for a few weeks, keeping your old e-mail addy.  If you hate it, cancel your account and call me irresponsible.

I have a feeling you’re going to love it as much as I do.

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