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The Great Email Migration

I’ve been talking for a while about moving away from Gmail as my primary email provider. I’ve used it since the earliest days, when an invite was required, and what really started to seal the nail in the coffin was learning that Google keeps an entire purchase history, separate from your email, that it gleaned based on email receipts.

Granted, I learned about this last spring, and have since then only thought about how to transition away. In part, this is because I overthink things, which then leads to decision paralysis (by way of fatigue), and ultimately I get caught up in everything else life throws at you. The only one laughing here, of course, is Google.

This weekend, I finally started to make some changes. I’ve long used Fastmail to host my email for my various websites over the years, and I recently realized it can be used to create email aliases with their @fastmail.com address. This meant I could come up with any necessary email addresses for whatever I want, all while keeping my personal email private; and unlike past me, current me is also making judicious use of plus addressing, which makes search and automatic filtering a lot easier.

What’s been fascinating about this endeavor, and maddening, is discovering just how ubiquitous email has become. We don’t think about it, but it ties to so many aspects of our lives now. Personal correspondence, work, travel, insurance, shopping (and hordes of marketing emails as a result of said shopping, and also travel and almost every other category here mentioned here), banking, newsletters, and on and on.

Switching email providers is a time-intensive task, especially if you use your provider’s ‘@‘ email address. It’s making me consider establishing a domain (that isn’t a website) just so I can take better ownership of my email all around, and so that should the need arise, I’ll be able to transition my email a lot more easily to another service at any time. This is step one, certainly, but I think it’ll be in hopefully short order that I get my own dedicated email domain for the future. I’ll have to do a bit more legwork to update what I’ve already done, but since I’m simultaneously using this as a process to decide what emails to keep (and their associated online accounts, if any), it probably won’t hurt to do this more than once to simplify.