Not that you’re paranoid or anything, but it seems as though everyone has an email address except you. So, do you need one? And how do you get one?
It’s only a couple of decades since just a handful of people had email. There seemed little need for it. It would have been a bit like having the first telephone - no use until other people joined in.
Fast forward to the present day, and you realise that almost everyone has an email address. It’s a simple medium for getting someone’s message from their computer (or phone or other device) to yours, in a form you can keep or delete.
How do I get an email account?
Your internet service provider (ISP) will almost certainly provide you with an email address if you’re using your own computer.
If you’re going to a public place (like a library) to access the internet, then there are ways of getting a webmail account. The most popular are Gmail (run by Google), Microsoft's Hotmail (now replaced by Outlook.com) and Yahoo! Mail, but there are loads of others to choose from. The sign-up process for most email accounts is quite similar.
When you visit one of these sites for the first time, find the “log in” or “sign up” text. Click on it and select “sign up”. Enter your chosen user name (the site will tell you if it’s already taken and offer alternatives) and a password.
It will then set you up with an email account. Log in with your username and password, hit “create mail” and you can start sending your first email immediately.
Elsewhere in these articles, we’ll discuss sending and receiving emails on the web, and keeping a local copy on your computer or even on your phone.
If you wanted to be more sophisticated, you could go to a domain registrar – the people who sell web space and web addresses. They will offer emails in the name of your choosing (as long as it’s not already taken), so you could be firstname.lastname@example.org.
This costs a small amount and isn’t necessary, unless you want to make a particular impression.