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You've Got Mail

06/25/2014 12:00AM ● By Patrick John
Billy + Patrick Snap Shot

By Patrick John

I do it every day — I plopped down at work last week to check my email and something caught my eye. I had seen it hundreds of times, but this particular morning, curiosity got the best of me. I peered at the monitor in front of me. In parentheses next to the word “inbox” was (9999+). Truth be told, it’s been that way for awhile, but I finally decided to investigate what the “+” really meant. I slowly guided the mouse upward and hovered over the “+”. In tiny letters, I was told I had 69,262 unread emails. What? That can’t be. It’s impossible. That’s crazy. No way. Well, maybe. I guess it could be right. OK, I admit, I’m an email hoarder!
I know what you’re thinking: Does this guy EVER delete any emails? I do, I swear, but I just can’t keep up. 
I figured I couldn’t be stranded alone on this island of inbox overload, so I started asking people around the office how many emails their inboxes were holding. Misery loves company, right?  In our front office, Jennifer had a paltry four messages, and Liz clocked in at 2,773. In the programming wing, Ryan had 15 and Robert reported 371. I asked my wife, Jane, to check, and she had only 42. Ha…lightweights, all of them.
I contacted Yahoo to get some stats on email usage, and I wasn’t quite mentally prepared for what they reported. Remember, this is just ONE email provider. Check it out:
    - More than 110 million distinct users use Yahoo Mail every day
    -Global users engage with Yahoo Mail 190+ million times
    every day and cumulatively, spend 35 million hours each day
    on Yahoo Mail

    -Mobile Mail continues to grow rapidly, with a 15% quarter-
    over-quarter growth rate for daily active users
    -Yahoo Mail blocks 600 BILLION spam messages a month gathered data across 38,000 inboxes and dozens
    of mail providers and determined 20% of users had more
    than 10,000 emails in their inbox and that 10% had more
    than 20,000. They actually had one account with more than
    700,000 emails!
Yay, I’m not alone. After all that, it’s no wonder everybody is glued to their computers and phones.  Gotta keep up with that email…
I’ve decided to get back into the “Under 9999+ Club” and I’ve started deleting emails. A little slow at first, but then I figured out you can sort emails by date and get rid of old ones first, or sort by sender, and dump huge blocks at a time. Now I’m a deleting fool.
If you’re in the same boat, experts say the best thing to do (once the inbox is under control, or to keep it that way) is to delete unwanted emails and mark spam every time you check your email. You can also hit “unsubscribe” on the bottom of most legitimate emails. They also recommend keeping your work and personal emails separate, specifically so you don’t miss an important work item that gets stuck between your Macy’s newsletter and a big sale at SkyMall. That’s gonna take a little discipline.
I did find others in the building and a few friends with thousands of emails, so now I know I’m not alone. By the way, 20,000 emails deleted, only about 50,000 to go!