scuba gear for the sea of emails

Getting deluged by WP subscription emails?

It’s your own damn fault.

I’ve a few beefs with the WP platform, chiefly around email subscriptions to blogs/comments and avenues of surfing. It’s evident that this platform is one not designed by Mac-ers. Its cumbersome and rife with redundancies and void of intuitiveness. I’ve often wished they’d bring a Mac consultant on board to inject some of that glorious Mac intuitiveness and streamlining. Hell, I’d volunteer myself if I had software skills!

I’ve created a number of workarounds to the WP flaws and weaknesses. They’re far from ideal and I wish they weren’t necessary but they do the trick.

First, I email subscribe only to a small and select blogs/comments. These blogs aren’t heavily trafficked, that’s the first rule. This is how I avoid the deluge of emails (posts and comments).

The remainder I read either on Blog Surfer or Google, depending on the blog.

Two, I’ve set up email filters for the annoying bloggers whose comments appear because we visit the same blog. I can’t avoid them altogether online but I can certainly keep them out of my personal inbox.

Three, I regularly manage my Subscriptions.

Four, I let Google Reader handle the vast majority of comments (as well as many blogs).

I like the reader and I don’t.

What’s to like:

Google Reader is One-Stop Shopping. It’s a convenient, easy and simple means of staying abreast of blogs and comments, if I care to read them. Plus delivery can be designed and tweaked to your liking (i.e., folders). I like tools to customize and set preferences.

What I don’t like:

It’s remote, distanced, cold.

To me, Google Reader is music CDs and blogsites are the LPs.

Plastic CD cases are utilitarian, compact, light space-savers. But they’re no substitute for the warmth of the paper of album covers. With CDs, absent is the pleasurable immersion in studying the album covers, reading the liner notes, the tactile sensations of covers in the hands.

Blogsites are the LPs. For the advantages of a reader, I still prefer reading blogs at their sites for the same reason I prefer LPs over CDs: It’s personal. I get a feel for the blogger by being in the environment s/he has created.

It’s the difference between meeting a friend in a hotel room (reader) and meeting him at his house (blogsite).

Today brought yet another reminder of WP’s flaw in its email system. Evidently there are bloggers fighting to dogpaddle in the tsunami of emails they invite by email subscribing to many blogs and comments. I vividly remember one Vox migrant bloghound reporting 400 emails in one day. Oh brother. She and others heavy on email subscriptions have two choices: Spend their lives reading their emails. Or delete en masse.

In which case, what the fuck’s the point of subscribing?!

(There is such a thing as being too social! And on WP, the consequences are hefty!)

I choose to live without clutter and that includes WP emails. My artfully-designed system, though imperfect, works but doesn’t diminish the irritations that make that system necessary. If I could, I’d impress upon WP the advantages of emails dispatched strictly when a blogger has responded to a comment. End of story. End of email deluges. For all of WP’s superiority over Vox, on this count, Vox excelled.

Nonetheless, there are still workarounds to avoid the tsunami:

  • Readers. Many good ones available, including Google’s.
  • Restraint. Simply don’t hit the Subscribe button on every post.
  • Stay on top of Subscriptions. Manage and delete.

Or don’t. And drown in emails.


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