Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Tagged email

RSS is dead. Subscribe to this blog by email instead.

rss-is-deadGoogle decided to shut down their popular Reader service on my birthday. In other words, RSS subscriptions are dead.

So if you’d like to keep your free Smooth Harold subscription current, subscribe by email today.

Those who do will be the first to receive next week’s post: The one question I would ask God.

And since I’m teasing stuff, be on the look out for my upcoming newsletters, including my official spam newsletter which my friends and family already lovingly filter, my music newsletter, book newsletter, and writing newsletter.

Email is the future, I tell ya!

What would you say to one million listeners?

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The problem with social media is that most of what is said falls on deaf ears. You need celebrity, novelty, or credibility, to be heard.

Furthermore, we tend to congregate with like-minded individuals, making it difficult to be exposed to truly new ideas and perspectives.

All of which makes Listserve an interesting social experiment. It’ll probably end up just being spam or generalized thoughts. But if not, I’ll stay subscribed as long as it keeps on giving.

The most self-absorbed auto-responder I’ve ever received

I received the following email auto-responder this week:

“In a mtg.”

“Really?” I thought to myself. “That’s your auto-responder: you’re in a meeting?! And you’re so important that you can’t even spell out meeting??!!”

Jeez. “Out of office” or “on vacation” notices are one thing. But life must be pretty bad for the ego that feels inclined to tell ALL correspondence that they’re “in a mtg.”

Incredible, actually.

Is email dead?

AOL Phoenix view_604x341No. Although no longer a hip technology, I think it will be around for several more decades.

Why I love checking my email

psd-mouse-cursor-hand-pointer-iconI can’t for the life of me understand why so many people despise checking email. For me, it’s like getting little packages in the mail several times a day. Of course, that’s not the case if you fail to follow a few sanity rules. Mine are as follows:

  1. Only check your inbox from 9-5pm, M-F. Since quitting my data plan, I only check my inbox during work hours—never at night or on weekends. Since I’m batch processing email now, chances are I’ll come across exciting, fun, or otherwise encouraging emails a lot more than I would fielding menial messages one at a time, 24 hours a day. Admittedly, I’ve had to check email under work emergencies a few times this year. But I never clean my inbox during those times. I only target the time-sensitive message I’m looking for, so it’s not a problem.
  2. Use Gmail. No other email client can rival the auto spam protection of Gmail, which is constantly updated. Additionally, I’ve setup more than 30 custom filters to keep my inbox clean from no-response required emails. If you’re using the right tools and are judicious when giving out your email, spam shouldn’t be a problem.
  3. Use it as a sales tool. After “thank you” and “I love you,” “you’ve got a deal,” is the best expression in the English language. To hear it though, you always have to be trying to cut deals with prospect buyers, partners, and shareholders. Much of this should be done in person or over the phone. But when it makes sense, a lot of it can be done via email. Once you start doing that, you’ll quickly learn to love your inbox, as it’ll become an income generator, a money-maker.

Do you love your inbox?

Worst email reply ever

A friend recently (and politely) declined business from someone he once worked with. This someone didn’t take “no” for an answer. Nor did he take unanswered emails. Behold, his latest email:

Dude… what am I missing here ??

I have always assumed entrepreneurs treated each other with respect and responded to each other; especially those that have known each other for a while.

So… um… why are you treating me (a 3 tie INC 500 winner and 5 x successful entrepreneur; arguably more successful than you)… like crap ?

I respected you enough to personally respond… not to have one of my people call; you.

If that is your definition of class. Please… don’t respond to my email at all.

Persuasion: You’re doing it wrong. Ellipses too. Not to mention unnecessary spacing before question marks. In any case, my buddy did not reply. ZING!

Information overload? Get Smart Brief.

Screen shot smartbrief.com 2010

When I first discovered RSS, I went crazy. I subscribed to more than 400 feeds out one time. Ridiculous. And even though I’ve since reduced that number to a mere 40, I’m still inundated with repurposed, rehashed, and regurgitated information. Why can’t someone just point me to the good stuff?

Actually, someone can. At least as it pertains to business and technology headlines. They’re called Smart Brief. They claim to “read everything” so “you get what matters.” And after a week of subscribing to their various newsletters, I can honestly say they deliver on their promise.

As a result, I’ve unsubscribed to even more feeds. Now if only Smart Brief covered more consumer areas, I might be able to relegate my Google Reader to personal feeds only.

56 reasons my wife is better than yours

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True to chain letter form, Lindsey emailed me the following “friend survey” today. With exception to nos. 23 and 41, her responses made me proud to call her my wife—especially with Valentine’s around the corner. They also make me look chivalrous, which is always a good thing.

Warning: some of her answers are a little sappy. But this is my blog—not yours. You can get lost if you have a problem with that! Continue reading…

Incredible: Unread email actually waits for you on your computer!

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OREM, Utah — After four convenient but usually bad-habit forming years, I canceled my Blackberry email/data plan with T-Mobile last week. To my surprise, I was amazed that my email would actually wait for me on the computer, as opposed to following me around wherever I went. Now, if I’m away from my desk, my email will tell me how many unread messages I have upon my return, so as not to overlook anything. (Some fancy email programs even support audible alerts, such as “You’ve got mail!” Really neat stuff.)

In a flurry of discovery, and in search of more answers, I asked a representative of ARPANET, the inventor of email, for comment. “The great thing about email is that it’s free, provided you don’t give money to your cell phone provider for the same service,” the spokesman said. “And unlike the Post Office, you don’t have to put a hold on your mail if you’re away, say on nights and weekends. If it fits, it ships—which is all the time.”

Continue reading…

Overheard on email: “Things I hate about online people”

In preparing for this story, I asked a friend who uses the internet much less than I do some questions. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read the following addendum to his answers:

Things I hate about online people:

  1. Everyone thinks they are an expert or critic.
  2. People become increasingly aggressive when shielded by the blanket of anonymity online.
  3. Online folks are much more interesting within the confines of their computer than they are in real life.

Unlimited BlackBerry email for $10

img5.jpgIn January, I made the switch from an unlimited data plan to email only. This means I no longer have access to T-Mobile internet.

I had the unlimited data plan for two years (service is a little slow, but still convenient), but I’m happy to report I’m doing fine, saving a little money, and likely to father fewer Blackberry orphans as a result of my downgrade.

What’s more, my trusty Curve supports Wi-Fi, so if I really need access to the internet on my phone while not at home, it’s not that difficult to find a public connection.

For as technologically inclined as I am, it’s ironic how technology averse I can be, in an effort to maintain some level of privacy and social sanity. Do you ever feel the same?

It’s time to drop “beta,” Gmail

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Gmail launched in March 2004. But after more than four years, the site still uses “beta” on its logo.

For the uninitiated, “beta” is a fancy way of saying, “this software or website is a work in progress.” But all software and websites are works in progress, so the term is primarily used today to sound cool — nothing more.

So let’s drop that “beta,” Google. Besides, you’re not as cool as you once were (but I still love ya).

See also:

I’m done with office phones

After four years, I canceled my Vonage line on Friday. I only used 20 minutes per month on average over the last year, so it made sense in my case to ditch the service, even though it works fine. Instead, I will rely solely on Blackberry and Skype for voice chat, as I have done for personal use since 2003.

I have so far managed to cut back my phone use by only answering expected or known calls. I check voice mail as soon as I’m notified, and I have a policy of returning both calls and emails within two working hours.

I tell my professional contacts that email is “preferred,” and my cell phone is “secondary.” To further encourage asynchronous communication, I reward emailers with faster response times. It works cleverly well, and I’m one step closer to my goal of ditching web access for an entire year. Whatever it takes.

Avoiding my email for a day to get “actual” work done

I did something yesterday that I don’t recall doing before. With exception to a single message, I avoided my email from 8am-6pm while still working. No gmail, no Blackberry, no nothing. I had to finish up a magazine article by this morning and needed the extra focus and added attention to get it done. I have a personal goal of replying to every action email within 2 business hours, so this was hard for me to do. But having put out existing fires and working under a tight deadline, it worked. And you know what, I actually enjoyed it. Ordinarily, I treat my email like life support, so it was nice to break away and breathe on my own terms as opposed to constantly checking my mail at all hours of the day, including nights. I should do this again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my email…