Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Midwest versus email

ITEM: I recently sent an email, a reply, to a Famous Person in Linux who resides in Europe. The note was rejected by the recipient's server as having come from "a spam domain", i.e., gmail. (Okay, Europe is not the Midwest, but I'm building a pattern here.)

ITEM: My uncle lives in a small town in Minnesota-- the kind where everyone is on dial-up provided by the good ol' boy down the road. It's the kind of town where the computer supplies store looks like it could easily be confused for a very small life insurance company or very small real estate company, except for the two stacks of blank CD-R's for sale on the window sill. Earlier in the year, there had been a family crisis going on, and he was sending out emails to the extended family, including to myself at an old, defunct address. Reason: he never got my notes from gmail last year in which I informed him of the new address. While visiting him this spring, I tested out gmail and sent him several emails. They never arrived to his account.

ITEM: I was setting up a project where I was giving away a tribble of money to seminarian students in my denomination. I wrote emails on two different occasions, a year apart, to every seminary professor in my denomination-- perhaps 80 of them, broken up into batches of 20. I never got any replies. Now perhaps my project was too unclearly or inflammatorily stated, or interfered with their own plans for teaching, but I'm wondering if it's some kind of midwestern cluelessness about gmail.

I'm wondering if there is an attitude among the less net-savvy that folks should be using a "valid" email server instead of something like gmail. I'm guessing that more net-savvy folks may be using services like yahoo mail and gmail in order to avoid using their work email for personal business. I also remember hearing in the 1990's, during the heyday of dial-up services like AOL, that "the internet" hadn't caught on nearly as well in the Midwest because of its being sandwiched in time zones. East-coasters would have a few hours of use with relatively low competition for bandwidth in the early evening, as would West-coasters in late evening. But Midwesterners had it bad all evening long. Maybe all this is a legacy of this pattern from the old dial-up days.

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