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Friday, 3 August 2012

Monthly ITCC Tips - August 2012

Keep Calm and Keep E-grouping!

If there is one common e-group most lawyers are a part of, it would be the Lawyerstalk. If you are involved in a sub-committee of a State Bar/Bar Council, chances are you are part of an e-group. Such  e-groups ensure that everyone is kept in the know of any updates/progress of matters of common interest, etc.  Yet, as anyone who is part of an e-group knows, any e-group can easily clog up your inbox with emails very quickly and thus it is more of a disabler than an enabler.

Do not fear, these three tips will help you:

1. Managing your E-Groups

Here are three simple steps to manage the barrage of incoming emails in any e-group that you may have joined:

i) Visit groups.google.com (assuming it's a google group and you have a google account).

ii) Click "My groups" and select "Edit Memberships".

iii) Select the box "all email" and switch it to "Abridged Email" (a summary of daily emails), "Digest Email" (you get an email for every 25 emails from the group) or "No email at all" (you need to manually visit the group from google groups to read updates). Try them out and see which setting suits you best.

Additional Tip: Did you know that you can actually turn off all emails, visit groups.google.com and access the groups, whenever you need to thus using it more as an online forum?

2. Setting an Email Filter

An alternative method would be to set an email filter to archive/skip your inbox and park the email under a label:

i) For Google Mail, go to your inbox.

ii) Tick on the relevant emails and click "more" (somewhere in the middle under the Search box).

iii) Choose "Filter messages like these" and make adjustments to your filter as you like. Emails from a certain e-group or person can be entered or even a subject matter, say, "Lawyerstalk" or "Discounts".

iv) Next, choose "Create Filter" and choose "Skip the inbox" so it does not flood your inbox. Apply a label to it so you can search for it easily. For example you can label it "State Bar", "Bar Council" or "Promotions" and you can just click on that label to access all emails which have been labelled accordingly.

v) Google filters/labels can hit and miss. Thus you may need to do some tweaking from time to time.

3. Muting Conversations on Gmail

Another option, if you are using Gmail, is to mute a conversation. If you are not part of a discussion but are constantly receiving updates in your inbox, you can choose to mute the conversation so that you do not see it in your inbox. If you need to check it, you can search for the relevant emails on the search bar.

Lastly, here are some general e-group etiquette:

i)  If the e-group has splintered into a smaller sub set for, say, delegation of work, perhaps messages for the sub set should be sent to just those few people in private rather than spamming the entire group.

ii) Think twice before posting anything casual. Remember, this is e-mail, not whatsapp, Facebook messages or text. Your message will be sent to dozens if not hundreds of recipient's inboxes. (hopefully less so, if you take the above tips into consideration)

iii) Before starting new topics or continuing on a new topic, think twice whether an e-group is the best avenue to address your topic. Sometimes it may be better to meet members face-to-face to discuss certain topics or merely emailing the relevant people. For example if it is a legal question on Lawyerstalk, it would perhaps be worth doing your research first before showing your ignorance to your fellow brothers and sisters in Law.

Let this not be a dampener but rather help to reduce inbox clutter. Remember, you can always visit your groups via google groups. So, give it a second thought if you feel like unsubscribing from the information overload!

Keep Calm and Keep E-grouping!

Prepared by Joachim Leong

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