Assume they know already.

I just received an email from an old friend, with a link to If I Did It on Amazon. He asked me, “Can you believe this guy? What will the publishers think of next?” I wondered if my friend had been in a coma for the last week. Had he not read the reader responses (eg. “we did it!”)??

When something happens at Yahoo; the stock drops, a disgruntled exec writes a manifesto — I get the announcement through email up to a dozen times from well wishers.

Every day our email inbox gets cluttered with two kinds of spam: commercial spam and friendly fire. Friendly fire is when you are buried with well-meaning but highly redundant content. Even in our family we have one netcaster who sends us dozens of emails a week – we call him Uncle Spam.

We focus on reducing spam, yet become spammers ourselves when we play towne crier and send out dozens of emails/videos/etc. every day to our mailing list (often in CC, where anyone could reply to all and start a vicious cross-post). Most of the time, we accompany it with “thought you’d like to know” and they usually just delete it (after it finally downloads on their black berrys at the airport).

Let all try a different approach. If it is on the homepage of Yahoo in the news box, everybody knows. Deal? If it isn’t a piece of strategic information (your competitor is in play), lets err on the side of silence.

In the future our best email pals, like a good blogger, will surprise us with useful insights that we haven’t already been exposed to. Hopefully we’ll learn from them and start to give our email partners in life “good return on attention” and be part of the solution instead of the problem. It’s good to be a maven, we just have to give people more credit.

Recommended read: Simplicity by Bill Jensen