Looking for a simple “delete” option in your account settings for that messaging app, or that online shopping service? Good luck. Clicked on the “cancel account” link and saw an option to cancel a subscription cycle, but not to delete an account? Yep. Don’t quite know what the difference is between “deactivate” and “delete”? I’m with you.
To Delete, or Not to Delete? If Only We Could – Lauren Goode, Re/code (13 October 2014)
Goode was taking the route we probably should all consider: getting more done by getting rid of distractions. But as she tries to actually delete her online accounts, things got stubborn.
Read the full feature for more, including what’s advice she can give you for trying to do this yourself.
Yes, yes, sometimes you have to look at each email and decide what to do. Fine. But you know you often don’t. Look at the last twenty emails that landed in your inbox: a couple might be spam, a few might be useful or important or urgent, but the rest are nothing. So you delete them. I’m just saying deleting them faster.
What I do is option-click on the first email I know I’ll delete, then I keep the option key pressed down and I click on every killable one as I scroll down. Then, wallop, I press delete once and they’re all gone.
This writer has a different approach. I think it’s dangerously close to thermonuclear, but:
Rather than reading every email message and acting on it, select as many emails as possible in a batch and deselect the messages you actually need to do something with. Email clients have different ways of letting you do the mass selection, but Control-A(for Windows) or Command-A (for Macs) will usually do the trick; here’s a list of keyboard shortcuts for Gmail, Outlook, and Mail for Macs. Depending on your email client, you’re going to either be able to select as many as you can get on a screen or some other setting like 25, 50, or 100, as is the case with Gmail. Most of the time, scanning the sender and the subject will give you enough information to know whether the message actually requires your attention.
Use Batch Actions to Get Through Your Email Faster – Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing (2 September 2014)
It’s just the reverse of what I do: Gilkey gets ready to nuke everything and then gives a few emails a reprieve. Read the full feature for why and a bit more about how.
I don’t need this and I’m not suggesting that you do either, but, well, we all have friends who might find this a wee bit useful, don’t we?
Sobrr [is] a social networking app that deletes everything posted to it within a day. Photos, messages, even friends and new connections all disappear after 24 hours, a spin on the ephemeral messaging service Snapchat. The idea, summed up by Sobrr’s catchphrase, is to help users experience “life in the moment.”
Sobrr’s 24-hour limit does two things. First, it offers users a social media safety net. That photo of you doing a keg stand? Share it! It’ll be gone before you sober up. Second, it encourages users to repeatedly check Sobrr for new content they know will soon be deleted.
Social Network Sobrr Deletes Your Drunken Debauchery After a Day – Kurt Wagner, Re/code (16 August 2014)
The full piece is here but you really want to go to Sober directly, don’t you? I mean, your friend wants to go there.
When Russell T Davies, with Julie Gardner and more, brought back Doctor Who to television, he automatically got a BBC email address. He just didn’t know about it for years and the story goes that he only found out when BBC IT finally asked him about it. He sat there with someone from IT as they opened the mailbox and of course there were eleventy-billion unread emails.
Davies says he had the IT person delete the lot.
I’m with him there, I think I’d have tried reading them but ultimately he was right and I’d have been wrong. Nonetheless, for my own email inboxes that I actually know about and actually use, I couldn’t do that.
Now Daimler is doing it for us. Specifically, for its employees when they go on holiday. If they want.
The full story is on the Financial Times website where you’ll need to register but, as a non-FT registeree, I found it on The Atlantic which quotes the Times as saying:
The Stuttgart-based car and truckmaker said about 100,000 German employees can now choose to have all their incoming emails automatically deleted when they are on holiday so they do not return to a bulging in-box.
The sender is notified by the “Mail on Holiday” assistant that the email has not been received and is invited to contact a nominated substitute instead. Employees can therefore return from their summer vacation to an empty inbox.
“Our employees should relax on holiday and not read work-related emails,” said Wilfried Porth, board member for human resources. “With ‘Mail on Holiday’ they start back after the holidays with a clean desk. There is no traffic jam in their inbox. That is an emotional relief.”
Auf wiedersehen, post – Daimler staff get break from holiday email – Financial Times (August 2014)