Gmail being down feels scarier than expected. Realizations:

  • I am so used to having it passively open at all times that I feel disconnected and anxious when it goes away.
  • There is so much personal history / record-keeping on it that if something ever were to happen with gmail, I would lose that life data.
  • I should research and cover backups in my gmail class.
  • Google is assumed to be fairly perfect. It has changed how things on the Internet are done. We trust it, partially because there’s little choice not to and partially because there hasn’t been a convincing reason not to. Will this change trust? Probably not. Should it? Not sure.
  • Others share my addiction to gmail, need to connect, and fright. Citing: Twitter.

It’s back up now (kind of; still not working properly), like that last 5 minutes were a strange blip in my reality, but these thoughts remain.

Meet Dabbler. Brilliant idea. It’s a no brainer to sign up for this latest Brooklyn Brainery venture; for only $2/month, you get a new hobby every month without leaving your home. I have no doubt that each month will have just the right amount of digestible and awesome information, which will consist of “several billion notes, book recommendations, background, how-to’s, a million and one links for further study, and anything else we think you’d find half-useful.”

Yea, this will be a winner. You can participate from anywhere in the world if you have an email account. Subscribe today. Share it today. Start Dabbling in 3 weeks and counting.

Political Fundraising (Spam)

Thanks to Gmail Meter, I feel validated in my firm belief that political fundraising is a bit ridiculous and overly bothersome. I learned in this month’s report that I received 71 emails from during the month of September, which stemmed from one small gift to the Obama campaign. I realize that as the race nears an end, the candidates are more in competition than ever, but I’m not sure what spamming people with emails really accomplishes. I’m sure that for some, they feel nagged enough to give, and maybe that nagging is fair. I feel torn, because as a fundraiser myself, I know that an entity can’t get money if they don’t ask; the campaign is doing a great job of asking. However, isn’t there a point of diminishing returns? Ask me 3, 4, 5 times, fine. But after it passes 10, 20, 50 asks, it seems like overkill. I can see where there’s little cost to the campaign to send these emails (supporters probably won’t change their vote over the spam) and great benefit (they can only stand to gain money), but it still feels unethical to spam voters. Is this just politics as usual, or has email fundraising taken elections to a whole new level?

[Update 11/28/2012: Interesting article on the ‘science’ of the email campaigning.]

1. The Listserve is a massive e-mail list — a ‘listserv.’
2. Each day, one person is randomly selected to write one e-mail to the growing list. That’s the only e-mail allowed to be sent to The Listserve.
(And the winner’s e-mail address won’t be disclosed to the listserv — unless they want it to be.)
I’ve only been subscribed to The Listserve for one week and I love it. I implore you to sign up today; you really have nothing to lose and all the insights and wisdom and fun to gain.
[UPDATE: I no longer love this since word limits were expanded; the emails are sounding more trite in many, many more wasted words. But, there are occasional great ones.]

SUCCESS: One Year in Accountability Partnership

A little over a year ago, I introduced the idea of an accountability partnership and was so fortunate that Sam Hansen wanted to try. We’ve now been at it a year, and I have so appreciated our daily goal-setting emails and occasional chats. The partnership has kept me more accountable to making and achieving goals, because we have struck a wonderful balance between flexibility with plans and friendly reminders of what should have been done. Sometimes, we have offered advice based on tone or comments here ad there that feel nonchalant but that the other person had noted to be of potential significance. Other times, it’s just been a bit of encouragement and an e-smile or high five that go a long way. Still other times, empathy has changed the course of a day by provoking other perspectives and inspiring action.

I’m psyched to keep this going. Thanks, Sam, for helping me to accomplish a lot and challenge myself in the last year; here’s to another one.

I’ll be posting some neat stuff about, produced by, or shared by Sam throughout the day; enjoy!

I think it’s professional (kinda) :)

When an email arrives in an undoubtably professional context that contains a smiley face, I do a double take. On one hand, it certainly creates a warm tone in a way that Kind Regards never will be able to do. On the other hand, we’re not in junior high and we don’t need to be cutesy to convey warmth. I’ve invoked the smiley on a few rare professional occasions, and I never quite know why I hit send even though I don’t feel stupid for it either. As long as it’s used in a ‘normal’ written flow, a smiley will probably be harmless because it has a positive connotation. As with pokes on Facebook from folks of a different generation or a certain type of relationship, however, it could be seen as creepy or inappropriate, albeit unknowingly so.

Verdict: As I often argue, people are should be hired for their overall selves as much as for how well they can directly fill their professional shoes. If it’s within a person’s written repertoire to occasionally smile, let ‘em smile if they feel so moved. It’s not hurting anybody, just raising some eyebrows.

Widget Alert! Gmail Meter is a Must-Have!

I manage both the receipt and sending of an extraordinary number of emails a day both at work and in my personal life. I’m constantly looking for ways to streamline and simplify what needs to happen with each email, and I finally found some truly fascinating insights courtesy of Gmail Meter. I ran a report of my personal email for March and learned:

Daily traffic looks something like “lunch break; let’s all email”:

Traffic is heavy at the beginning of the week:

And I either jump to reply or sit and think on it:


I think that there is a LOT to be learned from this and the rest of the report. Since email and communications are such a huge part of the day everyday, this is likely going to become a valuable tool for me and, I would imagine, many others. 

If you use it, do share your results! I’m curious how I stack up!