One Sentence Email Tips

Writer Josh Spector published yesterday a collection of 40 one-sentence email tips. It’s worth your time to peruse if you’re a fan of just using email.

Normally, when I see articles giving ‘tips’ on how to use email better, I roll my eyes and start reading only to discover the same ol’ trite. The problem with most of those articles is that they subscribe to the notion that email is the bomb or that email is a time bomb.

What do I mean? Here at Just Use Email, I view email as a practical necessity and better than all other since-invented forms of written digital communication. But I’m not fawning over email and in love with it. Nor am I a hater.

Email is a great tool and handles it’s place excellently. It’s superpowers are legendary and its foes are weak, despite their shinier boots. But when it has to ‘absolutely, positively’ be delivered, then you go to email, unless it also to be delivered overnight in a box, in which case, call FedEx.

Email is Superman. Kind of mild-mannered and old-school, but if you try to get rid of him, you’re, uh, probably going to die. All those Avengers had to do to get rid of Thanos was to just call Superman. But then then the movie would have only been ten minutes.

So normally those ‘tips on using email’ articles talk about things like replying carefully and watching out for cc recipients, or sorting your email, or not sorting it, or saving attachments in your file system. Nice. Good.

But to my mind, that’s just filling up the internet with copycat articles.

Aside from the fact that Josh refrained from explaining himself with each tip by adding a subsequent explanatory paragraph (I should take a lesson from him), what’s also cool is that Josh’s article has a bit of edge to it. I don’t want to copy his work here, but I will tease you with three of my favorites from his list:

  • 8. A good email with a bad subject line isn’t a good email. That’s right, Josh. Not to mention, such an email author is handicapping email from it’s first great superpower. Great Scott! I mean, Great Josh!
  • 11. The worst time to “do email” is every time you get an email. So many forthcoming articles on this here at Just Use Email but if you can’t wait for all the deeper material on this, just do what Josh says. Stop ‘doing email’ when you get one. Just stop it. Now. Seriously.
  • 17. There’s nothing ‘free’ about staying subscribed to a free newsletter you don’t read. Precisely. Despite Josh being a prolific email newsletter author himself, I have to say that if you aren’t reading nearly each and every email newsletter you get, you should unsubscribe. I think he feels likewise. No sense in tossing pearls before swine. (Or in the case of most email newsletters, swine before pearls.)

So I don’t steal his thunder (please go read his email tips yourself), I’ll just note here some of my other faves as numbers 3, 4, 10, 13 (in contrast to instant messaging), 18, 24, 27, 33 (New York Times, pay attention), 35, and 40. Number 40 is your friend.

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