It is rare these days to find someone who does not have an email account. Occasionally, at the newspaper, we have customers who pay in person for their subscription and say proudly, “I don’t have an email. No time for that stuff!” I admire that, actually. There is so much they don’t have to deal with. Of course, many important government services now require an email account, so the resistance is futile.
I, on the other hand, embrace email – so much so that I have possibly 10-15 personal accounts. But I only actively check five of them. The others are dormant, defunct, or the passwords are long forgotten.
When I was the owner of an active domain for a blog, it came with 100 email accounts to hand out or use. I think that’s a bit much. I could only think of three: info@, contactus@ and help@, and there my interest waned. All three of those forwarded to my main email anyway.
I have one Gmail account that someone else used to sign up for Spotify. I get their renewal notices – I wonder if they miss Spotify since I declined to pay. Spotify keeps trying, though. Mystery account holder, they really want you back!
My main Gmail account has been open since 2005, and I’ve given up trying to read it all or delete anything. Despite all good advice, I’ve used that address to sign up for services that have then turned around and sold me up the river. I get a lot of email that sorts into spam, my inbox or right to trash. I’ve tried to delete, unsubscribe, block and filter over the years, but it’s a zero-sum game.
When I took the job at the Chieftain, I was given an email account and inherited two more. The latter two are very active. I’ve been reading all of it, learning which ones require action or response, and which don’t.
The letters to the editor are always welcome. They help us know when we are doing a good job, and sometimes they make our day. The negative ones show us that readers are reading, and also might bring something important to our attention. (Our policy for publishing them is in the blue box at the lower left corner.)
Nonprofit corporations send out releases, hoping for a boost to their marketing efforts. There are some nonprofits that have a multi-million-dollar marketing budget, and that is pretty much all they do – send emails, fill their websites and social media streams with clickbait, and hope you will send them money.
We pick and choose carefully which of these releases to publish, based on if we have the space and whether the topics apply to local readers. Usually, it’s the small nonprofits with no marketing budget that need the signal boosted the most.
Another type of email that comes in are new book notices or offers of interviews with authors, speakers, musicians with tour dates “close by” (though “close” sometimes means Las Cruces or Farmington?). The litmus test is whether or not they are newsworthy. If so, we will inform readers that they are happening.
Government offices and agencies usually all have press offices, and you can sign up for their regular newsletters and releases. Often, news pertaining to Socorro comes through these channels, and we pass it along, either as a “staff report” or we do a more in-depth story on it.
Other groups send out “news” that is really just a commercial for their product or company. Some of them are sweet and creative: “Celebrate National Dog Washing Day. Show your dog you love them by using Such-and-Such Shampoo.”
When I first wrote this, I was making up the dog washing to be jovial. But a quick search shows that in fact we missed it: Wash Your Dog Day was July 21. Maybe I missed the email. No worries, International Pet Groomers Day is Nov. 1, and is now on my calendar.
Some emails are pitiful attention grabs, and can be highly entertaining: “Cybercurrency Coming of Age in [Insert name of city]?” Yes, I received a form letter once where the tired sender forgot to fill out the template.
Also entertaining are the overly familiar emails that start “Hey there!” or the tricky ones – “Here’s the proposal you requested” – did I? Or the usual scams from someone overseas trying to hand out millions in cash, or an email using the scary subject line: “Third notice: payment due NOW.”
If AI is the new thing, maybe the spam will change, just like “As Seen on TV” infomercials did when the internet popularized. But will I miss spam as I now miss Ron Popeil and Billy Mays? Time will tell.
That’s my story. Tell me yours.