Declaring Email Bankruptcy!

On Dec. 31, I had 46,315 unread emails in my inbox. On my first day back to work in the new year, I had zero.

No, I didn’t spend two weeks replying to all those messages. I deleted them — without reading a single one — and declared what is known as email bankruptcy.

Am I a bad guy for ignoring those emails? Or are the senders somehow at fault? Probably a bit of both.

via Disruptions: Looking for Relief From a Flood of Email – NYTimes.com.

I didn’t delete every email in my inbox but I have stopped reading email each day. It is overwhelming in volume and uselessness. The few email from family and friends are drowned out in an ocean of newsletters, sales pitches and so on. Even the newsletters are thin disguises for sales pitches, marketing schemes. None of it is worth my time. It just frustrates me.

I have my phone number on the Do Not Call List. That cut down on the phone calls I get for services I never asked for or about. But, I still get the odd call, roughly three a week. There is no system in place, no Do Not Email List, for email.

Declaring email bankruptcy sounds like a good idea to me. But, I’d take it farther and delete the whole account, or at least empty all the past, present and begin to bounce all the future email sent to that account. If you set up filters on your email account which allowed only email from specific email addresses – how much quieter would your email be and how much time would you save in wading through junk mail?

The main reason I don’t want to delete my account is the address I have with Gmail. I don’t want to lose that. So, I can either set up filters to delete all email (but for family and friends) or begin using a different email account (a new address) which I only give to family and friends, the people I do want to hear from. Some people may set up a third account for business-only email. However, I have an ongoing case study with an email address I abandoned at Yahoo web mail over ten years ago. That account is still flooded with spam and junk email though I have not used it (other than logging into Yahoo services) for over ten years. So, an abandoned email account will remain toxic for a long time after you stop using it. Likely, the junk email will still be filling that account as long as there is still Internet access.

How do you handle junk email? Have you committed email bankruptcy once, or several times? Feels kind of good to dump it all, doesn’t it?

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