We all have a laugh whenever an email from an @AOL.com address shows up in our inbox, usually because it comes in blue Comic Sans. But Politico's Ben Smith today tries to make the case that AOL email addresses are a "status symbol".
Smith and his buddies on Twitter compiled a list of high-powered folks who still email with their old AOL handles. (This is what people do in D.C. in the summer when the heat and humidity reach the point it softens their brains.)
Here is that list:
POLITICS: David Axelrod, Jim Messina, John Weaver, Joe Trippi, Mandy Grunwald, Dick Morris (a recent defector to gmail), Frank Luntz, Ed Rollins, Guy Cecil, Al Franken, Aaron Schock
MEDIA: Matt Drudge, Arianna Huffington (who was holding onto an AOL account long before AOL bought her company), David Brooks, David Corn, Robert Draper, Rick Perlstein, Ann Coulter, Tina Brown, Lawrence O'Donnell
From this, Smith argues that an AOL address is a "status symbol," because by the time the much-superior Gmail arrived these powerful people "couldn't be bothered to switch, and had nothing to prove to anyone."
I just did a search of my own gmail for AOL addresses, and it's mostly emails from my aunt and fake Hong Kong executives asking if they might be able deposit $1,000,000 USD in my bank account.
AOL addresses are not a status symbol. This is another example of the sycophantic logic that twists powerful people's flaws into reinforcing how much better they are than normal people. Mark Zuckerberg's too busy to buy presentable clothes! Steve Jobs can't give to charity because it will distract him from the crucial work of figuring out how to make a computer .1 inches thinner. Barack Obama shouldn't quit smoking, because it helps him run the country better.
The only status an AOL address symbolizes is your status as an old person, stuck in the mid-90s. Whether they are checked at the public library or on a media mogul's purple Blackberry while flying first class, the AOL address is nothing more than a digital AARP card.