I’m not too proud to admit that I still have a Hotmail account.  Back in 2002, it was my primary e-mail account, but now I use it to sign up for random sites that I don’t quite trust.  Perhaps due to the way I give it out like candy, that Hotmail account got hacked yesterday.

Ah, the joy of having a Russian Viagra ad sent to 100+ of my oldest friends! People that I haven’t talked to since I graduated from the University of Idaho were suddenly e-mailing me about the hack, wondering what was going on with the weird link I sent them. I saw the deluge of e-mails in my account and wondered how many college classmates, professors, and study abroad buddies had been affected by my little indiscretion. But to my surprise, something else happened. People were concerned about the virus, yes, but they were even more interested in how I was doing.

Because of the Hotmail attack, I am now in contact with a lot of people I might not have reached out to. I’m delighted to see where their lives have taken them in the last seven years. Many of them aren’t on Facebook or LinkedIn, so they had no idea I had moved to Las Vegas, taught English in Japan, or even gotten an MBA. Some are even interested in Fellowstream, and in a strange twist of fate, these old friends I accidentally spammed may become future customers.

One of my college friends, Steve, pointed out that, “The only time Deborah emails me is when her account gets hacked.” And it’s true. E-mail has become a forgotten form of communication in a world of social networks and instant messaging.

So my lesson for the day: New ways to communicate across distance are cropping up all the time, but sometimes, it’s nice to take a break from the “new” and try reaching out via e-mail, phone calls, and yes, even over lunch. These old methods of talking to each other are not “going out of style.” In fact, we can get more mileage out of them than before, since people don’t expect to receive an e-mail from an old friend.

-Deborah Fike

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