The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Oct 5, 2007

Email. Love it or hate it, but our overflowing inboxes have become an integral part of our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, it has become a garbage disposal of information. Think about it. Your inbox is crammed with messages that have nothing to do with one another.

Take my work-email inbox for instance. It contains messages from my coworkers, my wife, and even my mom. Sprinkled among these various threads are other things like newsletters and of course, the dreaded spam.

So, let’s take a look at the tyranny of my inbox from the perspective of your newsletter…the one that I found interesting enough to subscribe to, but begrudgingly because you didn’t offer to me as an RSS feed.

Can you predict my experience for reading your newsletter? For example, what “context” am I viewing it through. Am I in the right frame of mind to read it? Unfortunately, you can’t be sure. I could have just read bad news from a customer, spent ten minutes eliminating spam, or just learned of a new project with an impossible schedule. You see, my email inbox collects messages that only have one thing in common…that they are intended for me. Unfortunately they all fight with each other for priority and contextually have nothing in common.

The truth is that I want to receive your newsletter; I wouldn’t have subscribed to the thing if I didn’t. But just like your other customers, I’m busy. We’re all juggling multiple priorities, projects, need to catch that plane and most importantly, need to spend time with our families. I still want your information, but I’d just rather it not compete with the tyranny of my inbox. And here’s the rub, if I’m feeling overwhelmed by the backlog of messages in my inbox, I’m gonna send your newsletter to my trash folder, where it’ll never to be seen again.

But what if you offered your newsletter as an RSS feed — one that I can read with my feedreader? Then, I’ll read it in the context by which you prefer, when I’ve decided that it is time to read it. Oh, and when I’m done with your feed, I don’t really delete it, do I? By its very nature, RSS gives me a sort of archival mechanism, whereby I can return to the article/post for later use.
I just have one simple request. Please get your newsletter out of my inbox!

Filed under: Miscellaneous

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