In a moment of weakness I gave someone (that I would not normally) my email address. As soon as I got off the phone with them – the spam started rolling in and I kicked myself. Word to the wise – if you have any inkling at all that someone will sell your email address or add you to some crazy list – give them an alternative email address so you can tell who exactly is spamming you. You can then filter those (fi you want to read them) or ignore them. I just kicked myself again…and again.
It has happened for years…how many times have you had to say “sorry I think you have the wrong number”. I often get the newer version of this – wrong email addresses that end up coming to me (both business and personal). I sometimes respond and let them know about it – but there are other times – I just delete it.
Today I got three email messages from someone in LA who is throwing a surprise birthday party for their friend “Poe”. I did not respond.
A few months ago – I got a number of email messages from a college girl who was emailing what she thought was her mom. I did respond to let her know I was happy she got a 3.8 for the semester, but I was not her mom.
What is your policy? Do you email back or just toss in the trash?
Most people rely on email for their day to day business and personal communication – so much so that your mailboxes are most likely overflowing. Here are a few tips I have practiced over the last few years to keep my email under control.
- Make a judgement call with each email message you receive. If it will be beneficial in the future to view, keep it, if not, get rid of it on the spot. You will be amazed at how many message you have like this – and cluttered they make your mailboxes. Toss out the “Thanks”, “Got It”, “x is Out of the Office” and any other one liner responses as soon as you get them.
- Separate your personal email from your business email. I recommend using two separate email accounts to keep it simple. This way you separate your personal life from your business life and instantly know that Susan’s famous apple pie recipe must be in your personal email. This way – you also benefit by not having to read any office email when you are at home relaxing…and trying to catch up with friends. (think church and state)
- Organize your mail with mailboxes. If you get a lot of mail – use multiple mailboxes to separate clients’ work, newsletters, listservs, etc so you can easily use your judgement by looking at unread counts on certain mailboxes without having to sift through a long list of unread messages in an inbox.
- Archive old mail. As a rule of thumb, I archive my mail by year. By archiving your email, your common email mailboxes (inbox, sent messages, etc) will less likely become too unruly.
Just like most things in life, a little effort goes a long way. By keeping your email mailboxes tidy you are more likely to find what you need, and to work more efficiently.
One of my top pet peeves in my field is the use of self-signed SSL certificates for public web sites. I have no issue with using self-signed SSL certificates for a development environment or something internal, but when you have outside users, you need to show them that they can trust you. Just today – I got a “secure” email from my student loan company (which first got marked as junk). When I clicked on the URL in the email (https://securemail…) I got the error message “certificate was signed by an unknown certifying authority”. My blood began to boil.
A. You have all kinds of personal information about me, my loans, etc and you cannot pay $199 a year to get a certificate that my browser recognizes and trusts?
B. You make an extra effort to send a “secure email” to a “https” (secure) site, and choose to setup a “securemail” sub-domain – and when it comes to the certificate, you skimp? Wow.