Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{March 10, 2008}   56% of Kevin Bac’n

Sometimes, it feels like all I ever do is sort through email. I have my Gmail account, and my work email account and yet another email account at UBC, since I’m teaching there this term. I also have a variety of other emails (hotmail, yahoo, another Gmail account) that I almost never check and you can even email me (beth) @ my domain that I don’t actually use yet ( My Monday mornings, especially since I’m not in the office on Fridays, range anywhere from 1 to 4 hours of dealing with email before I can do any real work. That’s kind of insane.

Also, it seems that while I get tonnes of email, much of it isn’t really important messages from people who have info I really need or who need info from me… rather, a lot of it is bac’n. “What’s bac’n?” you ask. Well, it’s not quite spam, because it’s not completely unsolicited emails from total randoms, but it’s not email that you really, truly need. It’s low priority stuff that clutters up the old inbox. E-newsletters. Stuff people send to listservs you are on. Canucks news releases. Notifications that you received a new message within Facebook/DM on Twitter/comment on your blog. Stuff you signed up for thinking “oh, wouldn’t it be convenient to be notified of that?” when really, no, no it wouldn’t. You get swamped with the stuff, making it difficult to see the real emails that require your attention.

So, this past week, I decided to keep track of how much of email is made up of actual, legitimate messages vs. how much is bac’n. Some of the more interesting findings:

  • I only received 321 emails messages last week. I really thought it would be higher than that¹.
  • Of those 321, only 8 (2.5%) were spam that snuck by my spam filters. I think that’s pretty good actually.
  • Of the 313 non-spam emails:


That’s 56% bac’n, 44% real emails.

  • Looking at the data broken down by day, we can see that I got a lot of friggin bac’n on Thursday:

Also, I like graphs.

¹Granted, it’s totally possible that last week was not a good representation of a typical week.

Stacia says:

You may get a lot of e-mails, but it still looks like you have plenty of time on your hands! Love the graphs though.

Jorge says:

Hrm. Stacia may have a point.

Why, if you had not spent this time analyzing your mail, you could have probably answered 87.4% of it.

Beth says:

But if I didn’t spend all this time analyzing my email and drawing pretty graphs, you, my faithful blog readers, wouldn’t be entertained!

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