I had a dream this morning that I was about to be executed. I was in some kind of prison with padded beige walls. Somewhere else in that dream someone was showing me a long list of their e-mails and I was like "wow" I also lost my camera bag and saw big waves.
After I woke up I frantically checked my phone to see if GMail was still down. It was. Then about half an hour later I had 30 unreads in my inbox. It had been almost 24 hours with no-access to my non-work e-mail and I thought I was going to die. I realized that I've gone offline for much longer but being online with no e-mail access and being unprepared (no vacation message) is much much worse.
After tweeting (the irony that Twitter was up while Gmail was down was not lost on me) that I was unraveling I received a number of Facebook messages comiserating and suggesting remedies from people whom I haven't talked to in a while (one was years -- like a decade, sudden e-mai loss brings people together.) A suggestion was to setup gmail to forward to a yahoo account. While this wouldn't have helped in this situation, it's definitely a good way to do e-mail redundancy backups in the cloud. Maybe I'll also have that account forward back to a separate Gmail backup. The only single thought that was worse than having to go another hour without e-mail was losing it all.
Why all this fuss about e-mail? Why are you such an egotistical communication nut, Fred? The basic reason is that I find e-mail immensely more enjoyable and reliable than any other communication medium. Despite yesterday's downtime, my e-mail reliability has actually been quite high compared to my phone or any other medium's reliability. And I like asynchronicity.