When I worked for Apple Computer, I would get hundreds of emails a day. It was a challenge to get through them. Of the course of twenty years I am sure a few fell through the cracks, but mostly I was able to keep up with them.
I never succumbed to the read the first line and call it quits method of email management. I did answer many questions from people who had not bothered to the read the whole email in the first place.
Depending on how I felt at a given time, I might copy and paste the originial email with the answers highlighted. However, I did find that the worst offenders never noticed.
Lately I have seen an even more serious email management disease. These folks read the title of an email and assume they know what it says.
That is not only highly risky but certainly not very productive. A couple of responses that I have gotten from people trying this are beyond worthless.
I guess it is function of the desire to get ever more done with little focus on actually be productive.
I would rather do less and make certain that I get right whatever I do.
Email is what I live by in my real estate business. Most of my clients contact me by email before I actually meet them.
It works fine for the real estate world, but a package of letters returned to me by a friend got me to thinking if we are someday going to regret all the email.
The letter were written in the early seventies to a college friend when I first moved to Canada. It is interesting to look at them and glance through my thoughts. They tell a lot about me and what was important to me then.
I only have one friend to whom I still write letters. Even those letters are typed on a computer. Most of my communications with friends are instant messages or emails. We often do instant messages instead of phone calls. While they are quick and easy, they have little permanence. Without a lot of work, when the computer is gone the messages are gone.
I used to try to keep CD and then DVD backups of my email. Unfortunately the volume of mail has grown faster than the storage medium. Of course I use IMAP for much of my email so it hangs around for a few years, but still eventually it will go.
I have a lot of information on the web in my blogs. I guess they have some degree of permanence as long as I pay the bills. I have actually done backups of the information and even backed up a couple of my important websites.
Yet in spite of that I feel that we are on the edge of losing a lot of information. Maybe there is so much of it that there isn’t enough storage space to store it all.
Even if you could store who would take the time to read through an average person’s email? Maybe a relative, but they would have to have more time than brains.
Maybe this new age of email and instant messaging means that whatever doesn’t make it into a book will have to be learned over.
Then again maybe technology will rescue us with a way to digest all our emails and dig out some great thoughts that might have been lost to the world without some machine help.