This is the first installment in a new series I started called “Starting Early”. It’s going to be a chronicle of my early and first interaction with some of the things that come to define me today and how they have influenced me greatly. I would share stories of my first contact with Emails, Books, Music, Girls, Internet, Computers, etc. Enjoy!
I created my first ever email address in 2002, I was only 8 years old then. The email was “email@example.com”. The first email I tried was “firstname.lastname@example.org” but it was already taken, I had tried several variations of my first name before I decided to use my initials. “imo” are the initials of my first name arranged in no particular order. The first email exchange I had was with an Uncle who lived in “America”, and then subsequent email exchanges with people I met in chat rooms (more on that later)
The actual word “imo4real98” was suggested by the cybercafé receptionist where I sat. I didn’t think too much about it, I was just happy to finally get an email that was not taken, and I wasn’t born in 1998 neither, but maybe she felt I was; I was definitely so small as an eight year old, I must have passed as a four year old in her sight, or maybe it was just random. “for real” sounded like the mark of authenticity in those days (akin to “official” and “real” these days). It’s fifteen years now and I still have that email (although not really really active, prefer Gmail these days). There was a period when it became redundant for over three years, but I was able to recover it. After being used to the world of emails, I switched to “email@example.com”, the inspiration came from my obsession with the name “Kenneth” as a kid, I loved the name “Kenneth”, I’m struggling to remember the source of my obsession right now.
I also created an AOL account and a Hotmail account but I used Yahoo! more than the rest because of Yahoo! Messenger. I also used Hotmail often too because I loved their light blue background, and because of one other feature that I can’t remember now. Oh, and I also had to falsify my eight on numerous occasions because I could find my year of birth on the dropdown list.
I’ve lost “kenspaco”, and it didn’t fly as a nickname neither because my classmates as at that time were either dunces who knew nothing about emails or they were just being annoying and would rather stick to calling me “mmiri oku” (an Igbo variation of my name meaning hot water).
Because I didn’t have a computer then, I was always at the Cybercafé. I would always rush to the cyber café after school and stay there till dawn. One of my early obsession was Yahoo Messenger. I was told there was a chat room where you could chat with people from other countries, and because the person I watched using Yahoo Messenger always went to the “Romance” Chat room, that was where I always went. Back then, I didn’t know it was odd for an eight-year-old to be in a romance chatroom, neither did I understand what “Romance” really meant. I had thought that was just the only chat room, in hindsight I now understand how and why everyone was always shocked whenever they came to my computer screen. I did meet so many people from that Chat Room, most of them would send me vulgar and explicit private messages which I didn’t understand but I would play along with them in a bid to sound smart. Most of those friends are nowhere to be found now anyways.
That early introduction led me into a decade old obsession with Yahoo! The Yahoo homepage was an invaluable news source for me as it covered every segment and category. It would be another thirteen years before I would create a Gmail account. Even as a full-fledged adult now, I cringe from time to time whenever I remember Yahoo!’s demise, really sad stuff.
I shared the story of my early introduction to emails because my initiation into the world of emails has had a great influence on how I like to conduct my businesses these days. I love emails, I’d prefer you send me an email even if it’s a one liner. I also love closing my emails with a remark. My strong affinity for emails certainly has roots in my being introduced to it at an early age. That was the first thing I knew I could do with the internet — send emails, before the other things. It also tells a great lesson in loyalty and efficiency, I remained with Yahoo! despite the mass exodus to Gmail, but the minute I used Gmail and saw how effective it was, I didn’t think twice.
In a nutshell, most of the things we have become strongly attached to these days all have roots in our mode of initial contact with them.