PC Pro – July 2022
English | 134 pages | pdf | 66.53 MB
If I don’t reply to your email, I’m probably lost in a jungle
Email engulfs me. I have my personal email, my PC Pro magazine email, my Future Publishing email, my own company email, and numerous others that I auto-forward to the most relevant address. That’s quite aside from all the other ways that people get in touch.
Perhaps in a throwback to Google+, one of Google’s many failed attempts to create a social network, I think of messaging as a trio of circles. There’s my personal, inner circle that communicates via messaging apps – primarily WhatsApp, that curse and blessing of modern times. Then I have a middle, professional, day-to-day circle centred on Slack.
But my third circle, email, is the big challenge. Because [email protected] has been around for all 28 years of this magazine’s existence, it’s on every database known to man, woman and AI being. Quite aside from this I have a guessable Future email address that, despite its youth, is already building a firm following from PR companies. I’m also the triage mechanism for [email protected] and [email protected]. When there’s a problem with our software download service, I know about it!
I would love to say that I catch all these emails, and when I’m sitting at my desk, beavering away on an average day, it isn’t a problem. I can keep on top of my emails because Outlook is always open and, if I can, I quickly respond. The only ones I have an issue with are those that include four or five points, as I can’t knock out a two-minute reply. And then I find that two weeks have passed and I haven’t responded. Immediacy, in my flawed human mind, overrides importance. Even worse is when I have the temerity to take time off work, because the build-up of thousands of emails is very difficult to blast through with any accuracy. I do my best, honest, but I miss some.
I’m not alone. Millions of people suffer from the same email problems I do, with no hint of a solution in sight. The central issue is that what we now consider email was codified in 1977 as part of Arpanet, the forerunner to the internet developed by the US Defense Department, and how could anyone in the days of Carter and Callaghan have anticipated the sheer scale of communication in our 2022 world?
Email isn’t going to disappear, and it remains important for any communications where evidence trails play a part, but most items in my inboxes are as irrelevant as they are ephemeral. Out of date within a day, a week. Puff, they could disappear – or at least be automatically archived so the only time I see them again is when
I actively search for them. So, dear Microsoft, that’s what I want. An Outlook fit for the modern age, with such astounding AI that it’s a true mini-me, so I only see what’s important. I’m open to third-party solutions, but rivals such as em Client and Thunderbird simply don’t do it for me. Outlook, flawed behemoth that it is, remains my best bet.
Right now, I’m trapped in a jungle of email, with as much hope of reaching inbox zero as I have of winning Wimbledon. So if I don’t reply to your email to [email protected], I promise I’m not being rude. I’m just flawed.
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