Five - nice idea, needs more heft

Mike Davidson has come up with a great way to reduce inbox insanity: Signing your emails with a note that explains that you only respond with a set number of sentences. This is a pretty neat idea as I am the world's worst person for responding to emails - you know how others hate blogging because they never know what to say, how to say it or the tone to take? That's the way I am with email - so stuff sits in my inbox for weeks or months waiting for replies. My natural tendency is to write long, so this is a way to force me to be brief and also explain why to the reader... killer idea!

My only complaint is that the rule should be more demanding. The links to 2, 3 and 4 sentences make the whole process seem too optional. You can't make a movement out of so many options. Why? Because the reader of the email will think, "Hey, if this guy can choose however many sentences he wants, why couldn't he choose to make an exception for me, the jerk." With something like this, you have to give the impression that a certain number of sentences has been proven to be the most optimal for email correspondence, or some crap like that, so both the writer and the reader feel free to opt out of the social norms and niceties that have evolved around email.

Or better yet, I want the email stamped with a Thunderbird Plugin, that essentially says, "Sorry, I'd love to write more, but this damn email efficiency plugin won't let me." The signature at the bottom with a link to the site is okay, but I sorta skimmed the text at the top of the Five site and went for the links at the bottom right away, thinking it was some blathering introduction and I wanted to get to the menu. It just needs to be a mantra - not a whole site. Like "Early to bed, early to rise, keep your emails short, and inbox alive..." or something...




You know, as soon as I posted this, I had an even better idea: Adding a 'Sent from my iPhone/Blackberry/Nokia' or whatever mobile email device you happen to choose to the bottom of ALL your emails will have the *exact* same effect! Yeah! If I see someone's short response with that signature, I don't think anything of it! Perfect! :-)

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