Back in the day, AOL email addresses were all the rage. (They even made a movie about it!) Over the year, however, the popularity of AOL's email service--along with AOL itself--waned with the introduction of better, hipper products like Gmail, but not everybody switched. Whether out of convenience or brand loyalty, AOL email loyalists have become sort of conspicuous, and bloggers love to point out when famous people still use @aol.com email addresses to peg them as out of touch with technology. But Ben Smith at Politico has a different take on the hangers-on. "This is not, to say the least, a crowd of technophobes," says Smith. "Some, like Joe Trippi and Arianna Huffington, are seen as techno-sages. Rather, it's a generation of the political and media elite."
Smith is not wrong. A lot of people that are considered the political and media elite have email addresses. He made a list of them in his post on "AOL email as status symbol":
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
The same bloggers who like to use @aol.com email address to make fun of these political and media elite did not take kindly to Smith's remarks. "Sorry Ben, there's nothing cool about an AOL email address. And your list of people who have them doesn't scream 'hip,'" tweeted Markos Moulitsas, founder of The Daily Kos. "I already knew AOL email addresses were status symbols. I found it at AskJeeves.com," said political blogger David Waldman. "Whether they check their AOL accounts at the public library or on their purple Blackberries while flying first class, the AOL address is nothing more than a digital AARP card," wrote Adrian Chen at Gawker.