On the one hand, it’s extremely convenient for young academically-oriented people to grab an email account with Gmail or some other generic provider. The nature of the profession is that you will jump around from institution to institution — grad school, postdocs, faculty positions — and it’s extraordinarily annoying to have to keep switching email addresses with every move. Changing jobs is hassle enough as it is.
On the other hand — it’s letter-of-recommendation season, and there are still some backwards institutions out there who refuse to accept letters submitted from non-academic email addresses. Grrr. Get with the program, people!
Okay, not every blog post will be deep.
Update: prodded by Anil in comments, I verified that indeed Gmail is smart enough to let you use Gmail to send from any other email address you have. Just go to “Settings,” then “Accounts and Import,” then “Send Mail As.” Obviously you can’t use just any address, only ones you can verify. Hooray for Gmail!