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Sunday, 9 December 2012

#34: Tackling an E-mail Avalanche

I have 11,887 e-mails in my Inbox right now. All opened, but unfiled.

It was my plan, originally, to neatly file away all the important ones into their own sturdy online folders. And blitz the rest. But now the number is so overwhelming, it feels like an impossible task.

It’s as if I’ve been hit by an e-mail avalanche – thought I don’t recall the ‘snow-packed’ incident. The reality is it’s been a slow, gradual process; more a deceptive deluge. My Inbox filling up with messages almost while my back was turned. Like sand descending from the thick end of an egg-timer.

I made a concerted effort, about six months ago, to clear my Inbox; separate the wheat from the chaff. I think I reduced it from around 9,000 to 4,000. And then got side-tracked. Seven thousand e-mails later – in what seems like about seven days – here we are.

But how to tackle the mountain; get on top; and stay on top?

For those of us who’ve embraced the social media thing – which I guess is most for one purpose or another (staying in touch with friends/family, networking and marketing); particularly as, if we don’t embrace the SMT, we’re likely to suffer arrested development (according to the ‘experts’), or just be arrested – it’s doubly overwhelming.

In addition to daily offers, pleas and requests from the likes of Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Expedia, UNICEF, REI Gearmail (I have no idea who these guys are), Flying Flowers, More Rewards and RBC (or other respective banks), we’re now notified every time one of our Friends or Followers farts, clips a toenail, or hangs their panties out to dry.

During journalism training, back in the mid-90s, one of the rules we had to abide by in pitching, researching and writing stories was Is this in the Public Interest? If it wasn’t, the idea or story had to be ditched.

It seems to me we (as a global society) have completely lost sight of that principle – or else just become less interesting (if being notified about the above, ‘extraordinarily important’ incidents is deemed to be In the Public Interest).

I also feel I need to write a letter to all the companies listed above to request they simmer down their current bombardment of ‘offer’ e-mails. I know I can Unsubscribe from the subscription I don’t ever remember subscribing to, but who has the time to trawl through that arduous process?

My plea(s)/request(s) would be something along the lines of:

-- Dear Amazon, I’d love to buy a new Kindle Fire HD for the bargain price of 159 GBP, but I need to eat this month…

-- Dear Apple, I’d love to give the “beautifully packed” MacBook Air as a gift, but first I need to give myself the gift of keeping a roof over my head…

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.

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