I recently turned on the Gmail Priority Inbox feature for my “general all-purpose email account”. It sounds so good in theory – and it does exactly what it says on the box.
Priority Inbox automatically identifies your important email and separates it out from everything else, so you can focus on what really matters.
From what I can see it prioritises people over “bacn” (like spam, but tastier!) probably by a record of the emails that you have read versus the emails that you delete or archive without reading. I’m getting an odd mixture of stuff in my Priority Inbox, including some Facebook posts but not others (and they all get downranked straight away, anyway) and it’s missing emails from my friends that I would think are more important.
Perhaps I’m using it incorrectly, though. I’ve only used it for about a week and I’m finding that I am almost ignoring all the new emails that come into my inbox that aren’t in the Priority Inbox, which is a little disconcerting to put that much power into the hands of a .. machine. On the plus side, it is encouraging me to unsubscribe from those newsletters I don’t even read. And at some point no matter how powerful Priority Inbox is I still need to go through all those “not important” emails – and I really don’t want to be hit by a nasty surprise later down the track.
My concern with Priority Inbox, and Inbox Sorters in general, is that they provide only the illusion of helping you to get organised. Priority Inbox just adds another pane on my inbox that tells me I need to archive more emails. I really do prefer to search for what I’m interested in, and why not, with the power of Google search behind my 4000-odd emails?
How do you you sort your inbox? Do you like to depend on a smart algorithm to tell you what’s important, and what to read later, or do you need to read every email that comes through your mail server?