Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics


Posted by shannonclark on September 17, 2002

9 months, over 2000 messages sent

or, is my rate of emailing accelerating?

I should clarify, as of a few minute ago, my sent mail folder held 2029 messages, starting Jan 2nd, 2002. For all of 2001 that sent mail folder hold 2771 messages, so I guess I am roughly on the same pace?

This doesn’t count messages sent from one of my two other main addresses, nor does it really fully count all messages I have sent, there are some that have not be “caught” by the sent mail folder – whole periods of time when I used another email program – for example.

But it does make me think, 16 messages sent just today.

And this counts messages I have sent to 30+ people as just “one” message – if I were to count all the various to’s, cc’s and bcc’s in my messages, I suspect my yearly total is approaching at least 5,000 and perhaps even more – it is very common for me to send an email to three or four people at the same time, and I have sent plenty of emails to 30-40 people at time (and this counts a mailing list as just one address – that’s 30-40 individuals).

In thinking about my year, I am certain that I have sent and recieved far more emails, far far far more emails than I have made phone calls, and probably far more than I have had in person conversations. Makes me think quite a bit. I know that I write a lot, indeed most people who send me emails are surprised by how quickly I respond to them, what they don’t realize is that if I did not respond to them almost immediately, they would likely never get re-read or responded to – once I have clicked on the message and started reading it, it is generally the last time I will look at that message – though I will archive it for a long time.

I tend to only delete spam, and particularly large annoying semi-spam emails (mostly sales pitches – not pure spam because they have some reason for knowing me, but I feel I am unlikely to want to reach them again. My email folders now approach 494+ megs in size, and this is after having deleted and pruned probably a few hundred+ megs of emails.

On the one hand, rather frightening – have I really read all of this? Have I really gotten everything useful out of this that I could?

It does make me wonder, am I unusual in how much mail I get, and how much of it I keep?


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