Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, May 25, 2021

I’m afraid I can’t relate to the apparently growing number of on-the-gridders who are wholesale deleting all read and unread messages in their inboxes, in an effort to clear their personal-communications deck:

The term “e-mail bankruptcy” may have been coined as early as 1999 by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies the relationship between people and technology…

Some people who don’t want to go through the drastic-seeming measure of declaring total bankruptcy say they are trying to gently discourage the use of e-mail in their communications in favor of more personal calls or instant messages.

I simply don’t get an overwhelming number of emails. I guess I’m not enough of a wired mogul, or incessant e-chatterer.

What I found most interesting about this article: Not once was the spam issue ever raised. I was expecting that to be, if not the thrust of the movement, then at least a contributor. But no one, from Lawrence Lessig on down, even mentioned it. That means all these people are getting overwhelmed by (supposedly) legitimate email that’s coming their way. Just think if their spam filters weren’t working!

This indicates that the crisis over email spam has subsided, by the way. It’s still getting sent, but it’s no longer an overriding concern for the average person. Aside from the limited number of false-positives that slip through, it seems the filtering technology is keeping up with it. For now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/25/2007 03:45:38 PM
Category: Tech
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4 Feedbacks »
  1. I can relate. At times my inbox balloons to a few hundred items that I need to take care of (either by replying or doing something because of the email).

    It can be overwhelming at times, but every once in a while I get to catch up, or at least get close to it.

    Spam isn’t too much of an issue here. It sucks if your filter doesn’t work, but that’s just going through and deleting emails.

    Email bankruptcy’s about responses usually. I can’t really go that route because most of the replies I need to make are after some action that needs to be taken.

    Comment by David — 05/25/2007 @ 06:14:39 PM

  2. I’ve never had a massive amount of email I have to respond to, but from my perspective email is much, much better than the telephone.

    1: you have a record of what was said.
    2: you can deal with it in your own time.

    Of course, I guess the other side uses the same argument.

    Comment by Thud — 05/25/2007 @ 09:44:50 PM

  3. We’ve all read stories of email fatigue in the past, but they’ve usually included rants about how spam was clogging things up, contributing to the problems. What struck me about this article was that, for the first time, spam didn’t seem to enter the equation — remarkable, at least to me.

    I still very much prefer email over phone or other forms. It has its limits: Sometimes, you know the other party is just ignoring your messages, and you have no choice but to reach out and touch someone…

    Like I said, I’m not getting overwhelmed. People who get bunches of fan mail or other unsolicited (but still potentially important) emails are probably justified.

    But what drives me nuts: People who get all these emails, but then let them sit unread in their inboxes for days/weeks or longer. My practice is to open emails as soon as possible after I see them in the inbox, so as to dispose of them in whatever way. I work with people who habitually keep hundreds of unread messages sitting there, which boggles my mind.

    Comment by CT — 05/26/2007 @ 01:32:20 PM

  4. […] read and unread messages, in an attempt to get back to a manageable zero-base for email. Yup, it caught my eye, although more for what it didn’t address (spam) than what it did. Actually, this ties […]

    Pingback by MY 2007 WORDS-OF-THE-YEAR USAGE Population Statistic — 12/23/2007 @ 02:18:48 PM

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