Email Is The Life Preserver That Keeps Me From Drowning In Information

April 22 2012 10:30:00 PM Comments Disabled
Life PreserverThe amount of information generated in the blogs, wikis, video & photo sites plus the multiple social networks I am part of, is too much to keep up with manually. Thankfully email is here to help keep me up to date with what's going on. Yes, you read that correctly. Email helps me manage information overload.

In Mac's mail.app I've created a Smart Mailbox that displays the daily digests generated by several of the internal and external tools that I use and web sites that I'm a member of.

Daily Digests


These daily digest emails enable me to quickly discover what's happening in a variety of different tools without having to manually go to each site separately. So in just a minute or two I can read about the job changes people have made, new videos vendors have uploaded, responses people have made to conversations I'm taking part in, files people are sharing with me, upcoming birthdays, etc. This is much more convenient than going to multiple sites, logging in, then reading through each site's activity stream one at a time.

Update 4/23 9:30am: Based on an online conversation with James Dellow of Dachis Group, I admit that 99% of people probably don't want to, nor should have to, create a folder or Smart Mailbox like I mention above. A much better solution would be if "daily digests" had a standard definition type that email clients, RSS feeds, dashboards, etc. could processes automatically.

That said, of course I still spend some time checking sites like Facebook, Yammer, Twitter and Google+. But when I do, I don't have to process everything from scratch, as I'm already caught up on many of the things that matter to me. Also many sites now provide a visual notification of the things that I should pay attention to. These notification counters are different than the unread numbers in your email. They are not just a simple indication of new items, but instead they reference items such as responses to things you've written or mentions of your name. Click on the notification counter and you're presented with information about the posts you may want to read first. They are very convenient.


Notifications


Notifications are quite popular on mobile devices and tablets, so much so that Apple has added notifications into the latest version of Mac OSX.

So am I interested in getting rid of email? Absolutely not. It's one of the most important tools I use everyday.