Cory Doctorow is Ignoring Email

Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing fame has written an interesting article titled “The Future of Ignoring Things” for Internet Evolution.  His basic premise – computers have done such a good job of helping us remember things that now we need to put them to work on helping us to ignore.  In particular, he talks about about implementing an email feature reminiscent of the Unsubscribe function in IMS Pro:

“Rael Dornfest, the former chairman of the O’Reilly Emerging Tech conference and founder of the startup AskSandy, once proposed an “ignore thread” feature for mailers: Flag a thread as uninteresting, and your mailer will start to hide messages with that subject-line or thread-ID for a week, unless those messages contain your name. The problem is that threads mutate. Last week’s dinner plans become this week’s discussion of next year’s group holiday. If the thread is still going after a week, the messages flow back into your inbox — and a single click takes you back through all the messages you missed.

We need a million measures like this, adaptive systems that create a gray zone between “delete on sight” and “show this to me right away.”

This type of strategy is necessary due to the huge volume and high cost of interruptions; well documented in Intel’s analysis of the impact of Informania.  At ClearContext we continue to focus our core products and energies on eliminating this issue and “showing people the right way.”