a digital mess

lately i've been thinking about the evolution of email: how far we've come with it and where it is heading. i remember when email was a novelty. i remember thinking, hmmmm, what can i say so that i can send an email to someone? i remember when my email inbox was sort of like a digital shoebox of photos and letters: full, but full of wonderful things and still contained within a nice, clean rectangle. 

i remember when i always replied to an email right away, and also when i couldn't understand when people talked about "forgetting to reply" or "losing track" of an email. i remember when i didn't get emails every day, necessarily, and even a time when i didn't check my email every day. 

my email inbox no longer resembles the aforementioned shoebox of letters and snapshots. now it is like the rubbermaid tub in the garage - the one your mom kept of every art piece you ever made from age 2-18. the rubbermaid tub that is too heavy to lift, too full to look through, but too meaningful to throw away.

sometimes i find myself now actually forgetting about an email that someone sent me. even with all my sorting mechanisms (and anyone who has gmail knows that even the gmail infrastructure recently changed so that we have THREE inboxes now, and it presorts our mail into categories), i still find that things get buried quickly. or perhaps it is that now email-checking is less of a ritual. i can check it anytime, and think to myself, i'll reply to that later. But will I?

the form of our emails has changed, too. more often in the past we began with "dear," and signed off with "love,"; now emails are more of a dialogue, less of an e-letter. we banter back and forth without the greeting, without the personal signature at the end. Speed dominates, it infiltrates our modes of conversation more and more.

if email has changed this much in the past 10 years, how will it keep changing? will it not be able to contain the volume and the speed of our continued communication? 

who knows. and truthfully, i love email. i love being able to send someone a note anytime he or she pops into my head or anytime i remember that i forgot to tell someone a certain something. i love instant connection and instant communication. mostly i just feel a bit bummed that i am not able to keep track of it as well as i used to... and that some emails do indeed "get buried." 

So! If you love me and have ever sent me an email that I didn't reply to in a timely manner, please do not ever take it personally and do not ever hesitate to send me a follow-up email being like "wtf where are you, girl?" 

And! How do you deal with your email? Do you use gmail? Does anyone use Apple mail and like that organization system better? Enlighten me to your wisdom of clearing the digital clutter. 

photo sources one and two


  1. Hahhhhahhaha! You're so totally the one that has to send me "wtf where are you, girl?"-emails.

    I hate email. Well, I guess I have a love-hate-ambiguity-relationship with it. My dislike of it is partly tied into how a lot of my husband an my early relationship was forcibly tied into that medium. And a lot of my love has to do with how it enables me to have communication with distant loved ones.

    I have like three gmail accounts none of which I ever check. Once a month is a record from me. I can kind of handle Facebook, because even though the format sucks, it's all in a chain and easy to manage. I miss letters, and though I understand the convenience and love being able to have it, it fills me with trepidation. I prefer the phone over email any day, and face to face over phone any day.

    I try my hardest to not use email to communicate with folks I can talk on the phone to or visit in person.I actually really dislike how instead of phone trees our community now uses email as it's means of communication and always tell folks that emailing me is the least sure fire way to get my attention.

    I don't organize my emails. I just let them pile up in my various inboxes. Terrible, I'm sure.

    Grand topic. Thank you for bringing it. Oh and let's talk, Tue, Wed, Thu night?

  2. oh, my inbox is a mess. I am less than organised even non-digitally; for me though, it is always the invoices and children extra-curricular emails that i forget. I think that deep down inside i am ignoring them on purpose, some weird rebellion against authority. Hmph, maybe it isn't that deep down inside. Snail mail still rules. xo

  3. As Teeny said Snai mail Still rules, who doesn't love the hand written note or letter. Almost an extinction these days so ever more cherished.

    I tried the apple email program because I could check all three of my email account in one place and I hated it. Toooooo ulgly not convient enough and although I think my gmail is the prettiest I still keep my two yahaoo account becuase it is just too much work to get rid of them.

  4. oh, my inbox is a mess and i don't care! i rarely delete an email so there's LOTS of junk mail in there :0 i'm terrible at replying too. probably because i look at it on my phone and then forget. i enjoying writing letters and do write my sister once a month but that's it. i don't talk on the phone much either. i guess i'm a bit of a hermit :)


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