Don't email me like that

Today I received 45 emails. It’s noon. Only five of them were worth the read.

I am not complaining about technology complicating my life. I love my iPhone and Netflix.  I love access to information and blaming everything on “technical difficulties.” I’m complaining about people. Specifically those who email me at Middlebury College. 

Everyone means well. They offer me experiences, food and trips. They try to help me. They aren’t selling anything. I am grateful for their intentions. That said, these people end up taking something more valuable than money, my time.

When a company starts sending junk emails, I scroll down to the bottom of the promotional emails and click “unsubscribe from mailing list.” Because I can’t do that at Midd, I have written some rules of email. Even if you’re not an old person, read up.

1. Send fewer emails. Don’t send me “reminder emails.” One email (or zero) is usually fine. My commons office emailed me the other day about a tea and velvet cake event. I then received emails at 11:22am and 3:30pm (the same day) reminding me. In this case, and most others, one email per event is fine.

2. Don’t abuse the subject line.  The subject of the third email regarding velvet cake was “Urgent – MUST READ!!” This subject is reserved for family emergencies, and maybe snow days. It’s not generally appropriate for layered desserts traditionally colored with beetroot.

3. Use the Subject line. I want to read a subject line and know if I need to read the email, or better yet, know the information from the email. “Food in Commons Office – 3pm” would have achieved this.

4. Use EOM (End of Message) in subject line. If you can communicate only with the subject line, do it. For example: “Rugby Practice, 6pm, practice field – EOM.”

5. Cut to the chase. Personal letters aside, don’t greet me or tell me what you have been up to. Communicate relevant information. I’m not suggesting being rude, but being concise. If this embarrasses you try Kevin Rose’s trick. He allegedly puts “sent from my iPhone” in the signature of every email to excuse his short notes.

I look forward to hearing from you, sooner than I would probably like.