Inbox Overload
Email obsessives are taking action against an overflow of correspondence
Tech / 14 Jul 2011
With the detox trend in full swing, Gen Ys are looking to apply the cleanse mentality to all categories—particularly the web, where they spend the bulk of their time. Email, often hyped as an overpowering time-suck, is the primary target for this digital fast, as both senders and recipients attempt to rein in its demands.
: For those suffering from a constant influx of newsletters, store promotions, and too many daily deals to count, OtherInbox can separate the wheat from the chaff. This browser add-on works with pre-existing Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, or AOL email accounts, analyzing, filtering, labeling, and archiving incoming mail to maximize inbox efficiency. An automated organizer categorizes messages and sends users a Daily Digest report, giving the breakdown of emails that didn’t make it into the main inbox. The service recently hit a landmark one million users, marking exponential growth over the past year and suggesting that inbox anxiety is a very real phenomenon.
: A more drastic solution to email overload is Shortmail, an email domain that imposes a 500 character limit per email. Shortmail is being hailed as “Twitter for Email,” as lovers of brevity can use their Twitter handle to create an account. A mashup of email and a social newsfeed, the service organizes email chains into sidebar conversations, where they can be collapsed, expanded, or even made public to other users. As with Twitter, messages that exceed the character limit are bounced back. The character max, while somewhat prohibitive, is touted for its ability to filter spam and other promotions, rationing the Shortmail inbox to ‘strictly business.’
Email Charter
: In spite of mounting stress, most email users remain reluctant to sacrifice their once coveted accounts. TED curator Chris Anderson has devised a 10-point charter proposing more efficient email behaviors that don’t necessitate newfangled programs or apps. Based on the premise that the average time taken to respond to an email is greater than the time it takes to create it, the charter suggests practical measures, such as “Respect Recipients’ Time” and “Celebrate Clarity.” Simple courtesies like writing direct subject lines and using abbreviations like NNTR (No Need to Respond) can also save time while freeing respondents from their inbox shackles.
©The Intelligence Group