Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The E-Mail Flood

Does this make you nervous? How do you feel about this?

It may be different for those who have law-firm experience. But if you have worked at a university, working on your PhD, lost in contemplation thinking about some fancy theories of public international law, at least 61 (sixty-one!!) e-mails a day overwhelm you.

It is important though to read them all, each single word, with great care. If you blink, you miss it. Talks, parties, law firm events, announcements, deadlines... Or just the best free non-pizza lunch.

Still, after six month of experience, it is not easy to really know who is sending all these e-mails. To illustrate, just a short excerpt from my mail box: I received mails from:

Nhk. Easls. Esl. Sirr. Cbla. Cisl. lfWhenHow. SPIN. Crel. Nsls. Hri. Apalsa. Dvp. Pilf. Lcsss. Cjan.

Yes, Americans love acronyms. No, nobody will tell you what they mean. And no, nobody will bother to reveal the organizations’ name or what they do in the mail. And no, there is no introductory information session on this. It is up to you.

Ok, as I just remembered: it is not true: don’t read every e-mail. Why? Because there will be a reminder-e-mail. “Don’t forget – tomorrow!”, “Don’t forget – today!” “Starting soon – 10 Minutes” “Happening Now – still food left!”

And last but not least: what you will enjoy most, are these kind of e-mails:

Seriously? Could somebody please proofread the mail before sending? And even worse: three exclamation marks??? ... Maybe, you learn from our fatal silent surrender, making us drown in the e-mail flood, and you will try to push for an internal Columbia Law School E-mail Code. Generations will thank you. But, on the other hand, it is true – these e-mails also contribute to the feeling that there is so much going on at law school. 61 e-mails….at least…Maybe it is strategy...

As all this sounds frightening, two "insider"-tips:
1. Pay close attention to CLS Calendar.  It is hidden in the Friday-e-mail-flood. Good luck not missing it!
2. Use the unsubscribe function - if you can deal with the fear of missing out.


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