More Ways to Hurt Yourself with E-Mail

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The day before we warned about new ways to injure yourself online - in particular, by losing control of important correspondence - a personal experience hammered home the message.

A contact had planned to meet me in my building's ground-floor coffee shop. As the appointed time approached, I logged into my home e-mail account and belatedly saw he had e-mailed earlier in the day asking me to reconfirm our coffee. When the time came and went and he didn't call, I assumed he'd read my silence to mean I wouldn't be available, so he hadn't come.

Imagine my horror when that evening I found a second e-mail that my contact had sent a half-hour before we were to have met - saying he was on his way over!

My home account is set up with Outlook Express, rather than the full Outlook. As a result, there's the annoying feature that everything in the Inbox disappears from remote viewing once a user at my home PC opens the e-mail program. That's why I hadn't seen his second note, advising he was en route. And I hadn't asked him to send to my eFC e-mail address.

Plan Your Housekeeping

Breathtakingly brainless, right? It just goes to show no one should cavalierly assume he or she is immune to a similar debacle caused by lax communications "housekeeping."

"Social pressure forces job seekers to think that if they aren't everywhere, they aren't anywhere," observes William Drawbridge, director of marketing and development at the New York Society of Security Analysts. However, having multiple online identities creates a "management issue" that requires attention. "One of our members is a great example" Drawbridge says. "He's only on LinkedIn. But, he's so active and manages the network so well, he doesn't need to be anywhere else. He's extremely efficient and impressive."

Good managers know how to limit what they take on. An opposite approach, also effective, is to manage a broad group of interfaces by fully exploiting the utilities of each. "Eleven years of marketing has made me so widely anal about managing my channel communications," Drawbridge remarks, "I actually have tasks in my calendar to check in on each web page, blog, etc., to ensure I'm on top of everything."

One eFC user takes the high-tech approach still further.

"My domain, hosted by Network Solutions, has given me 1000 e-mail addresses I could use," writes "Chandler" in a comment to our earlier article. "I give each site or group their own e-mail address like '' or ',' then forward those to my gmail account (maintaining a copy on my domain in case there's a problem with gmail) which has an excellent spam killer. I have further set a filter on the e-mail so that when mail from selected senders arrives, gmail sends me a text message so I can be sure to receive it promptly. I further place a label on e-mails arriving from selected senders so they stand out. I check the spam folder at least once a day. You just have to."

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