The absolute unthinkable has happened. According to Mashable, some Gmail account users tried to log into their email accounts only to find out that everything -- their messages, contacts, settings -- was gone, gone, gone baby gone.
Google, we have a problem. About 150,000 Gmail account holders woke up to a nightmare this morning, with all their e-mail, attachments and Google Chat logs gone. What happened?
Google explains that “less than 0.08%” of all Gmail users were affected by the bug, which completely reset accounts, even down to the detail offering a welcome message to those users when they first logged on today. They, and especially visitors to the Gmail Help Forum, were not amused.
Not amused? Not amused? Imagine that your email was wiped clean. Try devastated! That's how I would feel.
I think if I lost my email I would feel adrift, not knowing what to do first. So as a public service I've put together an action plan to guide you through this crisis if you were one of the unlucky or should it happen to you in the future(knock wood spit spit).
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT IS DELETED
1. PANIC. People tell you not to panic in an emergency because it is counter-productive to making smart decisions in support of your own survival, but they are talking about emergencies like losing your wedding ring down the sink or losing your child at the zoo. Pshaw! WE ARE TALKING ABOUT YOUR E-MAIL, AND IT'S GONE!!!! Widespread panic is an understatement! Go ahead, use exclamation points and ALL CAPS!!!!!!
2. FEEL LOST. Realize you have absolutely no idea what to do next because you can't refresh your email box. Be aware that withdrawal will kick in for the average email user within 3 minutes. Simply starring at the "unable to load" message on your phone will not help -- keep refreshing it and refreshing it. Try another compulsive message-seeking behavior to replace the impetus. Check Facebook. Check Twitter. Check Facebook again. Check and see if your Gmail is back. Check Twitter. Check Gmail.
3. CONSIDER MOVING ON. Try to make an inventory of your contacts. This will be important when you try to restart your entire life with a new email account. Revisit Step 1 as often as necessary. Oh, never mind. HOW CAN YOU MOVE ON? They have everything, everything you need!!!
4. DISTRACT YOURSELF. Distract yourself by buying shoes or books. Online retail therapy! This might work until you realize that you have forgotten your online shopping log-in password and they want to send your password replacement message to your MISSING EMAIL ACCOUNT. Realize that this is really, really going to mess up your entire life if YOU CAN'T EVEN BUY SHOES.
5. CONTACT YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, BOSS AND CLIENTS. Call your key contacts to let them know that if they emailed you, it has been deleted. This will be hard, because, well, you have to use the phone. Oh my, you poor thing. The phone! You have to use a phone, of all things! What has Google done to you????
6. BE BRAVE. Try to avoid starting an epic fight with your partner, co-worker or friend who doesn't understand the utter devastation of losing your email account. They don't realize that they are being insensitive. They haven't had to deal with such a profound loss, but you are now such much wiser. They are simply emailing and emailing like toddlers, trusting their email provider, oblivious to the dangers of the real world. Poor them, really, poor foolish them.
7. BUCK UP FOR THE LONG HAUL. Now might be a good time to sing yourself a little song to give yourself strength. Eye of the Tiger! I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again! Till I Collapse! We Are the Champions! You can do this, killer! You are a survivor!
8. RELAPSE. Find yourself weeping in a puddle of Ben & Jerry's watching You've Got Mail. Damn that perky Meg Ryan! She would never lose all of her mail, would she, WOULD SHE? Why you?!?!? Go ahead, cry it out, baby, cry it OUT.
9. STRATEGIZE A SWITCH. Paranoia about your overall dependence on Google for search, calendar, chat, email, groups, some of your blogs, and various other online life functions is normal. Don't worry, you won't have to actually give up Google. The natural human defense mechanism of DENIAL will spring up allowing you to stay with all of your online accounts as is under the peaceful delusion that everything will always be fine. As they say, denial is more than a river in Africa, it's the glue that holds your psyche together!
10. RECOVER. Google says that their engineers will fix your problem soon, but now might be time to start a new email account. There are options other than Google, I've heard. I think. Maybe Yahoo still has mail? AOL? Someone like that? So what if they don't sound or look as cool as Gmail? You can deal with that now, right? No? You want to stick with Gmail and all of your beloved Google products, despite this crisis? See how wonderful denial is, my brave, plucky pigeon!
I hope this little guide has been of help to you during your time of need, and that Google gets you restored and up and running in no time. Remember, you are not alone! And your pain was not for naught -- it serves as a cautionary tale to the rest of us to back up our accounts. (Mashable has a tutorial; BlogHer has a great post here from Virginia DeBolt about how to backup your Google Blogger blog.) So take comfort it that.
But, um, I feel your pain, I do. I'm here for you. Hang in there. Email me if you need anything. You've got my address, right?
Did you lose your Gmail? Any advice for the survivors?
Contributing Editor Deb Rox doesn't even like to delete her own email, and she has thousands of messages in her inbox to prove it. So back off, Google, back way off.
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