10. Spring cleaning to make our inboxes manageable

techtipsfortradeunionistsLots of people complain that they get tons of spam, but on closer examination, you learn that what they’re getting are messages from mailing lists they’ve signed up to, or from social networks they’ve joined, or from companies they’re purchased things from.

That’s not, properly speaking, spam.

But it is a headache and there is no simple cure.

Here’s what I do:

Once a year, usually in summer, I set myself the task of doing a cleanup of the lists I’m on. My goal this year was to get off 100 lists and I did manage to reach that.

Every day during the summer, when I look at my inbox, I try to pick one message that has come in which I really don’t need to receive. It can be an advertisement from a company I have bought something from, for example. Usually, if it’s a legitimate company, the message itself will contain a link to get off their mailing list.

The same is true of the messages one gets from Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on. There’s often a link on the email message itself telling you how to stop getting more of these.

Sometimes you do need to go the website that’s sending you such messages and change the instructions there.

Often it’s mailing lists for organizations that may well be worthy, but you don’t actually ever read their messages or act on their appeals. Unsubscribe from these. No one will take personal offense if you. (Unless of course it’s LabourStart — don’t ever unsubscribe from that.)

Sometimes, rarely, it’s just someone, an individual perhaps, who is keen to send on messages to people who haven’t really asked to read them. In those cases, a polite request to be taken off the mailing list is all that is needed.

Once I’ve done this “spring cleaning”, and I combine that effort with blacklisting the spammers and using a strong spam filter, I find that my inbox becomes manageable — until next summer, when I start all over again …