Written in response to complaints often heard that there are too many emails.

What’s the problem? Bulging inbox? Can’t handle so many emails?

Well how many of them are one-to-one emails from people you know? I bet a lot of them are ‘one-to-many’ broadcasts from organisations.

Organisations know that the inbox is a precious place. It is yours and yours alone. It is not a room you go to where you share space. It is yours.

On the downside, it can get lonely, all alone in your inbox. Especially if no one comes to play.

But you know, the room you go to has its problems too. It is ‘somewhere else’ on somebody else’s turf. So while it might be fun, it’s like going to a club or a pub – there comes a time when you just want to curl up on the sofa and read.

How did it come to this?

Part of the problem is human nature: Give an organisation a website and it will make a sign-up page.

But who could have foreseen ten years ago that every organisation would have a website where the sign-up page could be put?

You want solutions? You can’t go to the organisation’s website to view everything. Organisations are wise to that. They don’t put everything on their sites.

They put the special stuff in emails, and only in emails.

Therefore you can’t look at everything by doing a circuit of the websites or in an RSS reader.

You can unsubscribe, but then you’ve got nothing.

Here’s a solution: Use a different email for all your sign-ups. At least use it for the ones where you are unlikely to want to reply to as ‘you’.

Visit your second inbox when you feel like curling up on the sofa with a good book.

I am impressed that the oil divestment movement is doing so well, but while I applaud the commitment to divest, I argue that for every stockholder that divests there must be a stockholder that invests. In other words, quite simply there must be a buyer as well a seller.

The risk is that the ones who step in to buy are the ones who don’t care what the companies do – so the worst traits and behaviour are given more free rein – more shortcuts – more Gulf Of Mexico oil spills.

In other words, the unintended consequences of oil divestment may be worsen the situation, not improve it.

Or perhaps the tack is different – make oil the bad actor and thereby make it easier for businesses that are already in the oil business to move to green energy. That might work.

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