#email

Robin Wauters:

Still, people continue to read more email on Apple-manufactured devices than any other device or platform. According to the study, Mac computers, iPhones and iPads were used to open 358 million SendGrid-delivered emails in the last year, compared to 320 million emails on Windows.

While the data is Europe-specific in this case, it’s interesting to think/see how many people primarily interact with email on their phones and/or tablets now. Certainly, it’s the main way I do. Since I always have one of those devices on me.

Just in time for the Labor Day holiday in the United States, Clive Thompson dives into the thing that will ruin the holiday for so many:

Why would less email mean better productivity? Because, as Ms. Deal found in her research, endless email is an enabler. It often masks terrible management practices.

When employees shoot out a fusillade of miniature questions via email, or “cc” every team member about each niggling little decision, it’s because they don’t feel confident to make a decision on their own. Often, Ms. Deal found, they’re worried about getting in trouble or downsized if they mess up.

This seems exactly right. I’d venture to guess that most email that is sent in the work environment doesn’t need to be sent. But it is as a way to cover one’s own ass.

As Thompson continues:

In contrast, when employees are actually empowered, they make more judgment calls on their own. They also start using phone calls and face-to-face chats to resolve issues quickly, so they don’t metastasize into email threads the length of “War and Peace.”

This is basic behavioral economics. When email is seen as an infinite resource, people abuse it. If a corporation constrains its use, each message becomes more valuable — and employees become more mindful of how and when they write.

So maybe the idea isn’t to limit the characters one can write in an email, maybe it’s to give people a quota of total emails sent each month. If they hit it, better find another way to message your colleagues. Or better yet, work harder not to hit the limit!

michaelbartholomew asked:

Hi MG, after reading "Twitter's Small Chance To Maim Email" I just wanted to offer a thought for an alternative method of maiming email: paid emails for all non opt-in emails. All opt-in email contacts could email each other for free while everyone else would pay say $0.99 per email. This could help eliminate spam while generating revenue for the email provider. What do you think?

Bill Gates once had a similar notion (though based mostly around the massive spam problem in the early 2000s). Sadly, it didn’t end up going anywhere.

From the piece on email newsletters I quoted yesterday, here’s David Carr:

Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos. In fact, the comeback of email newsletters has been covered in Fast Company, The Atlantic and Medium, but I missed those articles because, really, who can keep up with a never-ending scroll of new developments? That’s where email newsletters, with their aggregation and summaries, come in. Some are email only, others reprise something that can be found on the web. At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.

This makes complete sense. On the infinite internet, it’s impossible to stay on top of everything. So find a curator you trust — and ideally, a few of them since, again, no one person can be on top of everything — and go with that.

Lucy Mangan:

Under the deal, which affects around 250,000 employees in the technology and consultancy sectors (including the French arms of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC), employees will also have to resist the temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones – or any other kind of malevolent intrusion into the time they have been nationally mandated to spend on whatever the French call la dolce vita. And companies must ensure that their employees come under no pressure to do so. Thus the spirit of the law – and of France – as well as the letter shall be observed.

While the initial headlines overplayed it, this is still pretty great. And very French. Viva la email resistance! 

Team Mailbox:

Today, we’re proud to announce a new service built directly into Mailbox that learns from your swipes and snoozes to automate common actions. Mute that thread you don’t care about, snooze messages from your friends until after work, and route receipts to a list — automatically. We call this service Auto-swipe.

Auto-swipe is something we wanted to release with the first version of Mailbox, but it’s only with recent improvements to our infrastructure that such a smart service has been possible.

This really is something the team has talked about since the beginning. And it’s potentially very powerful — think: Gmail filters re-thought for mobile.

Also, Mailbox and Android is here today. And, perhaps most importantly, Mailbox for Mac is nearly ready for testing. If you’ve ever tried to use the OS X Mail app with Gmail, this will be the best news ever for you. One might call it “a glass of ice water in hell”.