Despite my using Gmail for most of this past decade, I am surprisingly bad at it. I never archive. My label use is pathetic. Gmail Labs is an unexplored, foreign world. I have 46,919 unread emails right now, and it will be much higher by the end of the day.
Most of all though, I don’t care. I am a champ at scanning email to find and kill the priorities, and PR people always ping you twice, right? Let’s be realistic: most people have poor inbox management skills. I am hardly the only schmuck in this situation.
However, even though I am a dedicated email slob, until recently my inbox was a free land. My various email addresses are public (they all funnel into a single Gmail account, which is bad Karma I have been told), meaning that anyone who wants to ping me has the option. I try and read as many emails as I can, but I can’t read them all. Still, every email used to have the same weight. One email, one vote etc.
No more. Now with Gmail’s priority inbox, all the lifting is (mostly) done for me, meaning that I can scan Gmail and read three critical emails and dodge the sifting process that used to be part of my life. No more will I catch a funny note from someone with weak English asking my opinion on iTunes. That note probably won’t make it to my ‘Important and Unread” section leaving it with little chance of being read.
The new Gmail nearly ensures that we will read fewer emails in total, which is both good and bad. Email is an unstoppable problem, being as thorough as the next bum was always good enough in the past. Now you don’t have to try.
Oh no. Never give a lazy user a shortcut if you want them to be thorough. Priority inbox is both a blessing and a curse: my email experience is streamlined but biased. What is sad is that I suspect in six months, when we all get fully set in our new priority ways, Twitter is going to be the best way to ping a non-friend. Unless we’re Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, we all read our @messages.
I have a plan to read over everything in my ‘Everything Else’ section twice a day. Well, it’s 1:28 and I need to get to it for the first time, so I will leave you with this: in the new Gmail life is vicious and unfair, and I have sneaking suspicion, unread.