The Eeeemaaaail

I’ve written several blog entries about how much email I send. For instance, late in 2003 I publicly admitted that I had sent 4600+ emails that year. I’ve also written about particular days in which I’ve sent strangely high amounts of email. All these figures count every kind of email I send (personal, professional, etc), but they only count ones that I’ve typed myself. No automation.

Let me break it down like this, in super-geeky-way-too-much-detail-push-up-your-glasses-and-snort fashion:

In 2003 I sent 4600+ emails.
In 2004 I sent 3501 emails. Perhaps I was in a slump.
In 2005 I sent 4571 emails. I was pickin’ it back up.

I’m proud to announce that this is a record-breaking year. So far this year (so far mind you) I have sent 5060 emails. 5060!!! It’s June 20th, and I’ve sent more since January 1st, 2006 than I sent in the entire year of 2005. What is that… almost 30 emails per day on average? Including weekends. Yeah.

I guess I’m hitting my stride.

If I keep up this trend, by 2010 I’ll be doing about 550 a day. Maybe by the time I’m on my deathbed, over half the Internet’s email traffic will be me. I’ll be there, wheezing and typing, thinking, “Just one more…”

7 thoughts on “The Eeeemaaaail

  1. Well, for what it’s worth, about 2/3 of those emails were work-related. So this is definitely not a “friends” issue!

  2. I am on the receiving end of about that many (1/3) emails where I work. I find myself doing nothing but reading email…I rarely need to send anything. When I do…I get 50 responses from our programmers that I have to read. I have received 1000+ work emails this year alone.

    We should move to Chain Theory (Markov Chain?) and discuss how many emails your 5060 has generated in return. Maybe the bulk of all internet email traffic is already caused by you…ponder that.

  3. If we’re talking about emails received, it’s a different story. Including emails that I don’t need to read (and just file for later reference if needed) I’ve gotten 121,439 emails so far this year.

    It takes some fancy filters to get through all that!

  4. I’m curious what you use for mail filtering. I’ve built up a decent procmail filter at 963 lines, which handles it well. I’m a lot more lopsided to the receiving side of email though (1985/209105+ this year, the plus as the procmail log had some NFS locking issues for a while). In my case I tend to use IM for short stuff, and the emails usually are longer messages. That brings up another interesting topic though – average length of message (not necessarily size, as some clients that use HTML make them huge for short messages) and the combination of email with other types of messages.

  5. I generally stay away from IMs since they tend to be more of a distraction, and take a bit longer to communicate the same thing. Plus, maybe it’s just me and my own techno-cultural misunderstanding, but IMs tend to say “do this immediately” and not “do this whenver you can.” If I want it done immediately, I’ll usually call them. If it’s a “whenever” thing, I email. I try not to interrupt people if I can help it.

    I have no idea the average length of my messages. I don’t even know what tool I could use to find out! I’d have to go digging around quite a lot to pull up that figure. I guess I’m too lazy. 😉

    I don’t use procmail unless the built-in Apple Mail filters somehow wrap around procmail. I just use the regular Mail filters, and they work well for me. I’ve got about 50 filters active. Still, I would be in bad shape if my filters were ever deleted. It would probably take me a week to build them back up again little by little.

  6. I think with IM’s (and other forms of communication), it’s a matter of defining expectations based on your use rather than what the sender wants.

    For the length I was thinking whether it’s usually a couple sentences or several paragraphs, not a stat or anything.

    I doubt Mail uses procmail (I guess it’s possible, but highly unlikely). procmail is generally a server-side ruleset for unix mail systems. When a message comes in and the MDA sees it’s for a local account, it can be configured to run a user’s procmail scripts. Basic function is sorting mail into folders, but it can forward things, run arbitrary programs, etc. Criteria can be nested, forked, and based off pretty much anything in the headers or body as well as custom program output (there are obvious performance implications, so wise ordering of rules by ease of evaluation can be important). Besides the fact that it’s very flexible, it also runs on delivery rather than retrieval so there’s no “catch up” when first opening a client. Hopping onto a webmail interface gets the same sorting as if using the normal client. If you’re interested in more detail, I think it’s in the base OS X install (man procmailrc).

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