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I am overwhelmed--and I am not alone. According to a recent survey conducted by IABC and twisurveys, more than half of IABC members say they get too much e-mail. I recently went away for a week and came back to 1,000 (yes, I meant to put three zeros there) e-mail messages. Now, I grant you that I probably get more e-mail than the average person. Everybody and their brother sends me "news" that they would like to see in print. And somewhere along the line, without my knowledge, I was crowned "the queen of technology products"--I must get every announcement on the latest version of every new gizmo. Some of these announcements are actually interesting and have editorial possibilities, but most of them go straight to the ad guy.

But enough about my personal e-mail dilemmas. I'm fascinated by the fact that within a relatively short amount of time, e-mail has become both the most useful tool of all time and the bane of our existence. If there's one thing that I hear over and over from the experts, including the IABC Research Foundation's think tank, it's that information overload is affecting everyone. And not only is the problem not going away, it's getting worse.

In September 2005, we devoted an entire issue of CW Bulletin ( to information overload. We discussed the topic inside and out, and it remains one of my favorite issues. This year we joined with two of IABC's thought leaders, Tudor Williams and Ryan Williams, of twisurveys, to find out how members were dealing with information overload, specifically e-mail. In typical Williams fashion, they got right to the heart of the matter and put out a survey that yielded the kind of results we can really use. I especially appreciated some of the suggestions from survey respondents for cleaning up our own e-mail "netiquette," like using clear and correct subject lines. How many times a day do you get e-mails with cute and/or mysterious titles? I get them all the time. It made me realize that I'm probably guilty of using subject lines that are so short as to be cryptic. Anyone who knows me would not be surprised that I am less guilty of another offense noted by the Williamses, the overly polite follow-up thank-you note--which they aptly called "butt covers." In any case, check out the article, "Too Much E-Mail!" I think you'll find it hits home. I know it did for me.

Natasha Spring, Executive Editor
COPYRIGHT 2006 International Association of Business Communicators
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:email management
Author:Spring, Natasha
Publication:Communication World
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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