What's the best way to use email? - Barking up the wrong tree
Eric Barker stashed this in Email
This was a great roll up, Eric.
As an aside, I love that post about what your relationships are worth in dollars: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/what-are-your-relationships-worth-in-dollars
Email, like Facebook, should be used to increase face-to-face interactions:
“The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are,” he says. “The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.”
Thank you, Adam! Having one variable really puts things in perspective. It's helped me decide what to be cheap about and what I should feel free to spend on because of the happiness ROI. :)
If "happiness ROI" is not a common term, we should employ it more.
It's not but there are a number of things I realized I tried to save money on and, from a happiness perspective, it was a net loss. Without a single variable it can be hard to communicate the value and importance of these things... Still learning, every day, still humbly learning...
I do believe you could write a whole book on this concept of personal economics.
MG Siegler in summer 2011: "I'm quitting email." http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/06/i-wouldnt-say-ive-been-missing-it/
One month later: http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/02/inbox-10000/
Scoble: "MG Siegler is wrong about email." https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/FTydYFGhGNR
MG Siegler 9 months later: "Still fucking hate email." http://parislemon.com/post/17328048747/still-fucking-hate-email
MG Siegler 2 months later: "Email. Archive it all. Immediately." http://parislemon.com/post/20671851536/email-archive-it-all-immediately
Gmail Permanent Failure: http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/31/gmail-permanent-failure/
Those are awesome links.
Sounds like Siegler was dealing with a scaling problem and frankly I don't think there's any way to cope with that other than 1) hire a staff or 2) selectively paying attention to what's important.
If you see email as a to-do list, the latter can be quite painful. Like the way we treat email vs Twitter: look at all of the former vs ignore most of the latter. It's more an issue of the culture/psychology around the tech. If you told me I needed to look at and reply to every post in my FB feed I can tell you right now I would happily never check FB again. The signal to noise ratio is abominable.
Part of the problem these days is one of medium appropriate communication. "Should this be an email?" Maybe it should be a tweet I can skim over. Or if it's time sensitive why aren't you texting or calling me instead? Part of the brilliance of all these mediums is they allow for different cultures around communications.
Anyone with an absurdly large network that makes Dunbar's number do a face palm is going to deal with these issues because the math just does not work if 500 people email you a day and it averages 2mins to reply to each one. Elvis, nor the Beatles, could have possibly replied to all their fan mail 50 years ago. Now the ease of sending messages has fallen through the floor and for very busy people, yes, you too can be the King or The Walrus except you might NEED to reply to some of those messages that keep multiplying Sorcerer's Apprentice style...
Four hour work week guru Tim Ferriss would tell MG to hire a virtual assistant or two, as you suggest.
As a society we need to get used to the fact that most emails will never get a reply.
If it needs a reply and you didn't get one, send it again with a line that says: PLEASE ANSWER; IMPORTANT; URGENT.