Brace yourselves — the complete removal of the old BlitzMail email system is coming. Students from the Class of 2013 might remember what it was like when the dated client that was replaced in favor of a Microsoft suite was a cultural phenomenon bigger than the Homecoming bonfire, Salty Dog Rag or Food Court before its renovation into the Class of 1953 Commons. While members of the Dartmouth community can pick their aliases in the Dartmouth Name Directory before the full switchover on October 31, which should work in theory on the new system, the consequences will never be the same. Younger students might wonder what it was like before the new Blitz client became the default standard, and all I can tell them is that it was better back in the day. So here are three reasons why BlitzMail used to be something of a cultural phenomenon among Dartmouth students.
Long lines at Blitz terminals: The Class of 2016 might wonder why there are computers placed in the most random locations all over campus. Well, I am here today to tell you that yes, people used to line up at those terminals to check their emails in between classes and events, and yes, people did strategically place themselves in front of those machines to maximize facetime during a time when iPhones and smartphone applications weren’t as common (circa 2008). It wasn’t uncommon to see Novack-level lines during the 10 minutes in between classes, even at terminals placed in groups of three at the same location. Those lineups escalated quickly.
Blitz spam and Blitz lists: While today’s campus listserv restricts the number of messages that a campus organization can send out on any given day, there used to be a time when savvy social engineers would create campus-wide Blitz lists for their own groups by manually adding the email addresses or BlitzMail aliases of incoming first-years onto a saved address folder on the old BlitzMail. The previous system made it easy to store the lists, even those consisting only of specific people that you wanted to contact, as well as send mass emails with little effort. Even though the service wasn’t as clean and efficient as today’s technologies, it was much more user friendly and allowed ridiculous amounts of spam to flood inboxes everywhere — in a good way. Student-made campus-wide email lists provided a means for Greek letter organizations and undergraduate societies to advertise their social events in a discreet manner to an elite class of social butterflies.
Blitz memes and celebrities: When unrestricted messages could be sent at a rapid fire pace, you just knew that some people and ideas were going to emerge e-famous in the BlitzMail community. Farewell, BlitzMail. While the Council on Computing had been planning your demise since 2004, those who were graced by your presence will never forget you.
Tags: Andrew Pham, blitzmail, email, nostalgia