You want to know something strange? I’ve received on average one spam email a week since I created my first legit email address in 1999. It was only about two months ago that I started to receive a wild number of junk mail on a daily basis.
It all started with AOL. I eventually moved to Juno and then Yahoo Mail. Then Gmail, of course. Though I always used Macs, I became Apple-centric in 2002. I didn’t start an account with Apple’s cloud service till they branded it MobileMe, thus I’ve used an @me.com address many years since.
Each mail account was mostly used for personal conversations with friends, or the mandatory email address for my websites’ records. In each case, spam was mysteriously absent.
Since 2007, many of my jobs necessitated a business email address with my name. I’ve had more emails to juggle, but even with business accounts, I’ve not accrued my fair share of junk mail. When I’ve used a business address for login credentials at online stores and services, I still received next to no spam.
I’ve counted my blessings. I figured that I was doing something right, but I couldn’t identify what I’d done to deserve junk-free mailboxes, or I would’ve shared my methods years ago. I experienced blind luck, so the mystery remained and I didn’t talk much about it.
What really amazes me about my luck is that it was across the board: AOL, Juno, Yahoo, Gmail… In every case, I’ve been left alone.
Life with Spam
Thankfully, I let iCloud and Google Apps manage spam the way they like and 99% of the junk is filtered automatically. Next to nothing terrible shows up in my inbox, so I’ll let good sevices do the dirty work — no need to over-engineer a solution to rid myself of that last 1% that finds its way to my Inbox.
But the unread badge on my Junk mailbox is relentless. The messages pile up. I find myself managing the folder just so I can achieve inbox zero in Junk, so that I have a little extra peace of mind.
About once a week, a message that isn’t spam shows up in Junk, so it’s important that I scan the subject lines and senders for essential mail that’s misplaced. This never happened before I received the influx of junk, and I can see the burden this will cause me for years to come. There’s always that possibility that a good mail message will go to waste, and that bothers me more than spam itself.
Now I understand what’s bothered all of you for all these years. Mail that I never asked for that I’d never want to open, let alone receive, is a cognitive energy suck every time I clean out the Junk folder. Why I receive them now is for the same reasons everyone gets spam, but why I dodged this problem all these years remains unknown.
I’ve convinced myself that the best practice is to spend as little time in my mail as possible. When I need to, about twice a day I read my mail and keep my desktop client closed the rest of the time. Mail management is toilsome, and best to alleviate as much of the pain as possible. I don’t need inbox/junk management on my mind 24/7.