How many times a week does your inbox flood with mail, and yet you’re disappointed and feel like none of it is worthwhile?
I’ve noticed this happening more and more with the dozens of emails I receive every day. I eagerly scan the incoming subject lines and who they’re from, and more often than not, I sigh and lean back in my chair because it’s all junk. Maybe junk I opted in for, or junk that I am sort of interested in but just not in the mood for at the time. In any case, I find that they mostly fall into one of these 5 categories:
- Spam, spam, spam. It’s not even creative anymore. And those phishing attempts? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But the fact that people are still bothering means that there are a few suckers out there keeping the needle in a haystack method attractive for unscrupulous folk.
- Newsletters. Most of the time there’s a sale announcement or a coupon from stores/companies/organizations for which I am a patron, which is fine. But after a few newsletters, I usually realize that the content is the same and the email’s only worth opening if I have a specific need to purchase something. I probably subscribe to too many newsletters, but I have just enough interest in their content or products to put up with frequent emails.
- Boring. Bills, statements, order information, automated notifications or confirmations. All that business-y types of stuff that is relevant, but not usually exciting.
- Semi-interesting. These are usually emails that seem interesting upon first glance, but turn out to be forwards, rickrolls, or misleading subject lines. Or from an email group that sometimes has useful or interesting content.
- Good stuff. Personal email from acquaintances, friends, fans, and family. These are always the first ones I open (even if I’m a horrible slacker and don’t respond as quickly as I intend to).
I think my inbox apathy really mirrors the allure of personal snail mail; The best kind of mail to receive has a familiar return address and your name hand-written on the front.
When’s the last time you sent a handwritten letter to someone? I sealed up a letter to my teenage cousin a couple hours ago and will send it out tomorrow. It definitely takes more time, thought, and effort to write a letter the old-fashioned way… but as a recipient, that’s what I value the most.