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Buried Under Email

January 17, 2008

I get an amazing amount of email every day – at least 50 messages in each of my two email accounts, my SCAD one and my personal/consulting one. By the end of the week, I’m at least 30 emails behind, and all but the critical ones go into the queue. Fridays are spent catching up and doing other work. And then comes Monday again.

There is sometimes a game to email (or maybe I just attempt to turn everything into an abstract system, and that’s really quite possible). These are techniques I’ve seen used:

  • The Bounce: This strategy involves asking the person to get back to you in a week. This requires them to remember it, and doesn’t add anything to your email.
  • Retaliation: Using this technique, you ask them for another piece of information or for clarification, thus removing the email from your plate for the time being.
  • The Machine Gun: This technique involves serious determination to fire back responses to the queue as quickly as you possibly can.
  • The Delete: One of my students suggested this today when he saw my open email box. “Just start hitting the button,” he said. I didn’t, but I’ve actually heard of people who delete any unanswered emails in their inbox after X months. I don’t. I can’t.

My pet email peeve involves people who ask, “Did you get my email?” seconds after they sent it to you. This is closely followed by those who email to say, “I will be sending you an email soon on X, Y and Z.” It’s like an advance bounce. Why not just send me the intended email when it’s done? Then, I could bounce it.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2008 9:37 pm

    The Delete: …

    Oye… I didn’t want to know that professors (if that’s who you mean by ‘people’) actually do that. I have a hard time e-mailing them in the first place, and for them to trash it is just depressing. I think I might have had a couple professors do that to me last semester, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt because I understand they have a lot of traffic.

  2. January 17, 2008 9:45 pm

    Hi David,

    No need to worry. I’ve never heard of professors doing this, at least at my school.


  3. Nat permalink
    January 17, 2008 11:06 pm

    In my office we call the verbal “I just sent you an email” a free-bozzle. The preemptive email is a “pre-bozzle”

  4. January 17, 2008 11:12 pm

    @nat – yeah! I’m not alone! I love term. If someone sends you another email to check to see if you received the first, that would be a post-bozzle, right? A tele-bozzle would be a phone call to confirm…

  5. James Caskey permalink
    January 18, 2008 3:51 pm

    I still love the saying I heard in my Digital Art and Culture class:

    “With email, I can do in 30 minutes what I never had to do before.”

  6. January 18, 2008 6:45 pm

    @James – that line is so tragically true.

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