Treating email like just another social network



It’s very early in the year and I seem to have a problem:
The two email accounts that I use have a combined 11,572 emails in their inboxes.
This I would consider a problem because my view of email has evolved like probably everybody else’s:

Email is electronic mail – that’s why we call it that.
You use proper greetings and salutations, the whole etiquette is that of a full-blown letter.
To this very day Outlook is the gold standard for email and it tries to simulate real hard copy letters to the very details of a paper clip symbol for an attachment.

One problem is: there are way too many emails. And most emails are not from people. These days email is mostly automatic notifications of all kinds – not really a letter anymore but an endless flow of updates.
Second problem: Email is no longer in the Outlook on your computer. I check them on my phone and my tablet way more often than I do sitting down at the desk. That has dramatic effects for email consumption: It blends with texts and social media status updates. There is virtually no difference in handling the apps for email, facebook, messaging or twitter on a mobile device.

I used to file every email I received in the appropriate folder just like you did with paper letters back in the day. When Gmail came around it replaced folders with labels which was a huge progress back in 2004. Now even that seems to be obsolete!
What’s the point of keeping yourself busy archiving emails? Regardless of your email provider they all have decent search functions these days. There is no need to put them in folders, archive or label them. From now on I will just leave them where they are: in the inbox. I will continue to respond in a timely and professional manner but the whole processing after that I will just not do anymore.

I am happy with the way I manage my social media accounts.
When I see a facebook post I either let it go, like it or comment.
When I see a tweet I either let it go, retweet or comment.
I don’t know why email in 2013 should be any different:
When I get an email it either triggers some sort of action on my site or not.
I’ll just let it fly by like any other post or tweet.
Basically 2013 will be the year I start treating email like just another social network.


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