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Imagining Conversations: The frustration of email

You get a lot of emails, many of which are junk, unimportant or even offensive. Filters try hard to keep out the crap, but sometimes they just don’t work.

What’s most aggravating to me, maybe to others, is the regularly sent messages that start out with, “I’m sure you’ve missed my recent in-box message to you” or “We recently corresponded about XYZ.” But the one I find most offensive is, “I was hoping you would have responded to my recent email about holding a 10-minute information meeting about our new [insert better mousetrap here].”

Sure, these are tricky approaches. Certainly other emails that are borderline illegal or violate some truth-in-advertising statute show up all the time, but we seem to have grown accustomed to them.

According to Message Labs, spam accounts for more than 60 percent of all emails. Google reports that at least one-third of all Gmail servers are filled with spam.

Billions of dollars are being spent to concoct, send and then have recipients deal with junk email. Yes, we are an advertising firm, but we do not send bulk, wide-swath emails in the name of marketing. Sure, there are respectable ways to build targeted messaging, but even these may be seen by the recipient as junk.

I received this email on October 3 from Agency Squared: “Good morning, Jim, In case my email last week was a little too vague, I wanted to give a brief overview of the tech that we know to be critical to an effective proactive outbound new revenue strategy.”

It’s the imaginary conversations that bother me most. Why do people send these assumptive emails guessing you are dumber than the box of rocks your daughter brought home from geology class? Well, sadly, many of these junkie digital deliveries are actually effective. And, compared to overpriced traditional direct marketing that costs a lot of postage, you can push a button and fill even the most stealthy of inboxes with these appeals.

We cannot hide from the onslaught of mega-spamming and database-mining efforts that send billions of unwanted messages to our screens every day. So I was thinking about writing some responses to have in my portfolio so I can pick and choose which one to use. Then again, should I really need to worry about that?

Nevertheless, here are a few I came up with:

“Thank you for your recent message asking Mr. Parham to take a conference call. Sorry, but he’s unavailable due to his death.”

“I forgot about our meeting that you asked for via the internet. Sorry, but I went with your competitor’s product instead.”

“I simply cannot remember your most recent email that you reminded me about in your most recent email. I’ve started taking medications for this condition.”

“Really, we were to have a 15-minute conversation about investing in East India’s tar sands? I won’t miss the next fabricated conversation. Promise.”

Personally, I don’t like meetings for the most part, whether they are made up or not. But, then again, I was raised on SPAM. I am sure you understand my point.

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