Tag Archives: email

Is email all you seem to do at work?

Email costs North American businesses nearly $2 trillion annually – a huge amount of money. Collaborations specialise Contatta has published an infographic showing just how much American businesses pay employees to process email.

The infographic shows some staggering inefficiencies in the way we work:

Workers spend on average 13 hours of their workweek reading and answering email – around 637 hours annually.

Based on the average professional wage in the US of $23 per hour, businesses pay over $15K per employee to process email

Collectively, employees spend nearly 75 billion hours in email. This costs businesses nearly $2 trillion in salaries. That is around 14 times the combined wealth of Bill Gates, Oprah and Warren Buffett.

That amount of money could give everyone in the US with $5,637. But we would have no email!

The staggering cost of business email infographic

Data and statistics were pulled from the US Bureau of Labour, McKinsey Global Institute and the Radicati Group to showcase the ineffectiveness of email and the way we process things.

So why do we still send emails instead of communicating using instant messaging tools such as Chatter, Lync, and Yammer? 

Like the memos of the past, we seem to think that email gives us the permanence of a written memo. We have an audit trail and an ‘official’ message that  can be printed out and faxed or posted to anyone.

Actually, instant messaging and other collaboration tools can do this as well. Firewall filters can be applied to block unsuitable messages, or messages filled with profanities or other undesirable keywords. All messages can be archived and audited and processed like their email alternatives.

We need to change our behaviour. but after over 20 years of electronic messaging – it is going to be a long hard slog to embrace true social business.

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.


Delivery spam scam

There seems to be a new way to propagate a virus using the UPS system for tracking your parcel. I received both of these email  messages within a couple of hours of each other.

This is a poor attempt at a scam. The originators yahoo email address is exposed, the spelling is poor, and the To:line shows multiple addresses.The Zip file is the same size in each, there is no corporate branding on either email and the spelling leaves a lot to be desired.



With success rates for spammers increasing all the time it is worth being vigilant. Two easy ways to make sure that you don’t get anything destructive on your machine:

  • Take your user account out of the Administrators group.The default account when you first get your machine is in the Administrators group. Create a separate account called admin, and protect it with a password. You will be prompted every time something needs to have administrative access to your machine, whether an update or a fix – or a worm. Stopping and checking – before you allow access will minimise your chances of introducing malware.
  • Check dodgy emails such as these carefully. Poor spelling, multiple recipients, attachments should all make you suspicious. If in doubt, don’t open the email…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Facebook changed your default email address without telling you

So Facebook decided which of my email addresses it was going to show on my timeline?

Facebook now shows everyone’s email address to be yourname@facebook.com – not the email address that you chose to display on your profile.

I’d prefer to choose my own email address thank you Facebook.  It is a simple matter to get it back however so that Facebook displays the email address you want – not the email address Facebook wants you to display.

1: Click on your username and click on the about link..


2: Scroll down the the Contact info area and click on the edit button.  You will see a list of your email addresses.


3: Select the email address that you want Facebook to display.  Select the arrow to the right of the name and click the ‘show on Timeline’ option. Select the Facebook.com address and select ‘hide from timeline’.


4: Click on the save button at the bottom of the dialog box..

Now everything is back to the way you want it… Smile

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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Do our devices stop us from ‘really’ communicating with each other?

It’s odd how we keep some of our SMS messages and discard others.  A text from a loved one, stays in our phone for ages and ages.

And yet we communicate with our friends and family using status messages, tweets and updates. We do this more than we talk to them face to face. 

Social media has the ability to keep us connected to people who we would never normally interact with.  Those casual acquaintances, friends and colleagues who we would forget about if we had to communicate with them face to face.

And yet, with tools like Facebook, we are aware of what our casual friends do on a day by day basis. We become a silent watcher of their lives, a lurker, a stalker.  We don’t usually interact with them, and yet we know so much about them. With the onslaught of mobile, and our utter reliance on the divide in our pocket (remember – we’re addicted to smartphones according to Ofcom).

Things that we might have found disturbing a few years ago, we do freely.  We advertise our presence to the world when we check in to a location.  Are we expecting that other, similarly connected people will join us at our location?

We use social tools when we’re in meetings, tweeting about how bored we are with the meeting.  Sometimes, we’re encouraged to do this, so that the live Twitter feed can be displayed for others to read. 

We check our emails as soon as we wake, through our meals.  We take photographs of our food as a permanent record of what we have consumed. Our phones, designed to facilitate communication with others become the barrier to our human communication and interaction.

We are so busy being productive that we ignore our families.  They are plugged in, online, listening to music and updating their friends on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and BlackBerry Messaging.

Sherry Turkle talks about being the new way of being ‘Alone Together’ at TED this year.  She talks about us hiding from each other, whilst being connected to each other.  Laptops in meetings provide a barrier to the rest of the group.  They might not want to interrupt that busy person from their emails.  The laptop is a safe place to hide behind.

But are we killing the art of human interaction and face to face conversation?

The video talks about our presenting ourselves as we want to be.  We are not the same person online and offline.  We get to ‘retouch’ the parts of us, until they are just right.

We use the conversations with each other to learn how to have conversations with ourselves.

And technology is enabling this chasm between human interaction and interacting with devices.  We are developing sociable robots that offer companionship. such as the Unified communications robots help patients get better, the Mask bot- The robot with the human face and Argumentative Chatbots.

Sherry nails in one sentence how this is changing the way we interact with each other:

We expect more from technology and less from each other

Does technology appeal more when we are vulnerable?  Do we pour out our heart and soul through blogs, status updates, emails and texts.  Is it just because we are lonely that we reach for that connected device?

Can we bear to be alone?  Does social technology truly define who we are?

   Without connections will we be more alone?  Is solitude the thing that we should be aiming for – to get us used to being us. 

Then and only then, can we be truly authentic online.

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Mingly: Relationship management for Gmail

imageI quite like the idea of Mingly.  It’s a plug in for Gmail for Firefox and Chrome and it’s a relationship manager that merges your address books and updates together.  It’s aiming to bring your email and your social users together with information, reminders and updates in one place. Ideal lab think it’s going to go far, with a $500k investment from Idealab and others

Social aggregators such as this aren’t new.  Tools such as Xobni, Gist and the k that Outlook social connector have been around for a couple of years now but have focused on managing email and social activities from a rich client such as Outlook.

Mingly might just steal a march on these products  as it’s aimed at users with web based email systems.  It currently links Gmail with the big boys of the social networking world.


  • It merges Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with your Gmail accounts and creates a master address book with all of your contacts, significant dates and updates. 
  • It acts as a multi platform aggregator so that you don’t miss any of those important dates
  • It acts as a relationship maintenance tool – so you don’t lose track of what’s going on


  • It only works on Chrome and Firefox.  There is no support for IE.
  • There is no support for Hotmail – nor is there any indication that this will change
  • Considering this integrates with Gmail- there is no support for Google+ at all

Anything that successfully aggregates all of my social stuff in one place gets my vote.  Tweetdeck is brilliant for aggregating the actual feeds, but events, birthdays and other key dates get lost in the mix…

Oh to have something that did everything.  emails, social feeds, reminders, voicemails, faxes, events and updates… The truly ‘universal inbox’…

It would be stuffed to the gills I reckon Smile

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


The email charter: Your rules for email management

imageChris Anderson has some great new rules for email – his email charter, that we should all sign up to.  Over the last 20 years we’ve got sloppy with email.  We don’t seem to care how long our emails are, or how much information is sent to everyone in the original email. I wish more folks would sign up to the charter.  Its makes me sad to think about just how much of our working week is wasted by responding to often unnecessary emails.   I’ve highlighted the points here from the email charter.  Nice and simple… :

1. Respect Recipients’ Time
2. Short or Slow is not Rude
3. Celebrate Clarity
4. Quash Open-Ended Questions
5. Slash Surplus cc’s
6. Tighten the Thread
7. Attack Attachments
8. Give these Gifts: EOM NNTR
9. Cut Contentless Responses
10. Disconnect!

The 3 principles I try to follow when dealing with my email inbox are:

Don’t reply all if you don’t need to

Use an auto delay for your response so that you never regret posting anything

Don’t reply instantly.  That’s what the phone is for.  It drives false expectations

What are your email rules of engagement that helps you get to inbox zero and improve your productivity?

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


40 years of email triage

imageSo email is 40 years old?  How much has it changed your life?  Can you honestly say that it’s changed your life for the better?

It’s not something many of us like dealing with.  We spend our lives trying to reach inbox zero, deleting messages that shouldn’t have been sent to us, and trying to respond to key business messages that might have been better as a phone conversation.

email seems to be the bane of our lives – much more of an intrusion than social media seems to be.  We constantly check our messages on our phone.  We’re always on, always connected, always rushing to respond to that business critical email.

But was it always like this?

Not at all.  If you’re lucky enough to remember the days before instant delivery of email straight to your inbox, you’ll remember the peace and quiet in your working day.  What happened to the time we spent before we became productive?

Well here’s a timeline showing just how far we’ve come since that first email was sent:

1965: Email started from users logging on to the same host based mainframe

1966: Sage system had a limited form of email

1971: The first email sent using the @ sign from one DEC 10 to another

1978: the first email advertisement goes out over the university network

1982: The word email first used – and the first smiley emoticon used

1989: AOL’s “You’ve got mail” message recorded

1990: first spam started to appear from botnet machines

1997: Microsoft buys Hotmail (And releases the first version of Outlook)

1998: The film “you’ve got mail” is released and the term spam  referring to junk email is added to the dictionary

1999: an email claiming that Bill Gates will give you money if you forward the email begins to circulate on the internet

2003: CAN-SPAM Act comes into force

2004 Internet acronyms officially recognised by Oxford English dictionary

2004: The ability to add other types of media to emails is introduced

2007: Gmail becomes available


Thanks to reachmail for the infographic that gave me the inspiration – and Wikipedia of course

As you can see fro this screenshot – even after 40 years.  We still get it wrong sometimes.

Have we got it right yet?  Like our 40 years of social media and the Internet – it seems like we’ve still got a heck of a long way to go!

image credit:flickr and Flickr


Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


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