“Sign up for our email list to get information and announcements.”
It seems like every group out there, whether professional, hobby-based, or commercially-organized, communicates by email. They send emails, and expect their messages to be looked at. Or not. The second option is more likely, because there is so much email. An individual message sent out to a subscribers’ list, as opposed to a personal email, is not likely to get much attention when and if it is read, and even less likely to be remembered when needed.
Once emails are – maybe – read, the information needs to be stored away for future reference. There is simply no chance to remember it all. And there comes the pain – how to organize all that data. Events can be added to the calendar, so that they can remind about themselves in due time. Documents can be saved with relevant projects. Purchase receipts and travel arrangements can get sorted into their proper folders.
But what to do with ongoing conversations? Questions and answers, discussions, group decision-making? How to keep the thoughts from being lost? It is important to keep track of who said what, when, and why – but it is not practical to re-read everything every time, and there is no easy way to summarize. Being able to search through the emails helps, but requires good memory for keywords, excellent usage of unique-enough keywords, and doesn’t fully solve the problem even if all the conditions are met.
The only way to deal is to use old trusted “divide and conquer” method. Conduct technical conversations on StackOverflow, professional networking on LinkedIn, idle chit-chat and social calendar on Facebook, other special topics on forums and in blog comments. By picking a most conductive location for each conversation it becomes possible to categorize and to frame the discussion, have just the right amount of history, threading, and “search-ability”. It also reduces noise – there is no longer a need to surf through numerous car-buying discussion messages when checking RSVPs for the next house party.
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