The problem with Gmail Priority Inbox

By Matter

First, a disclosure: I am an unashamed Google fan-boy.  And, as a service, I’m sure Gmail Priority Inbox will shine like most of the others. The problem is, it is just one more crutch for individuals to use in dealing with too much email.

Rather than relying on advanced technology or systems for processing our email overload, let’s collectively change the behaviors that lead to it. In my own personal dream world, we’d have a standardized set of email rules of engagement that would include:

– We will use email for sharing information and documenting decisions, not for debate and deliberation

– We will reasonably possible, we will endeavor to talk first, type second

– We will emulate Jerry Seinfeld in the episode entitled “The Face Painter”, in which he declares ” I’m taking a stand against all this over thanking.” In email, we will assume that the “Thanks.” is implied or sign off with some version of “Thanks in advance”

– We will require that all e-newsletters, promotional emails, etc. must be opt-in

– We will really think about whether “all” need to see the message before using “reply all”

Those five rules alone would likely eliminate the majority of what drives us crazy about email.

What do you think? Are these rules reasonable? Am I really dreaming to think we could collectively change our behavior in a meaningful way?