This column appeared in the 8 April 2016 edition of Skerries News.
First thought: By now, it’s for everyone. These days, it seems to be expected of everybody to be on the internet and to have, at the very minimum, an email address. No computer? The library has some you can use for free!
Second: It’s simple. Using email has become pretty straightforward. If you’re new to it, don’t be shy to ask a friend or family member to walk you through it – after a couple of times, you’ll be able to do it all by yourself.
Third: Beware of spammers and tricksters! “This is Apple Corporation. Your account has been suspended. Please click here.” Don’t! “You have been selected for a tax refund.” No you haven’t! Most of these would end up in your spam folder. Delete and ignore.
Fourth: Don’t send too many Emails yourself, for instance by responding using “reply to all” to a group email, one that goes to many. Make sure that you only reply to the original sender – unless everybody needs to see it.
Fifth: Manage your inbox! A few minutes at a time make it easy to keep on top of it. Don’t let the messages build up… you don’t have to open every single one. Selecting and deleting them unread is often a good option. The subject line will give you a good idea.
Five quick pointers for setting up your email:
1. Choose your email name wisely. If at all possible, I would go with your actual name, with a dot between first name and last name. It’s easiest to read. Of course, if you’re John Smith, then email@example.com will be gone long ago, so adding something like e.g. your location might be useful: firstname.lastname@example.org is probably still available! Many use their year of birth – fine, if you’re happy to give it to everyone…. Me, I’d prefer my location.
2. Your password should be something you will always, always remember. Many places require them to be secure, so 1234 or password won’t work. Short Irish sentences do, however, especially when combined with punctuation marks and a number, such as anbhfuiltuanseo!2016 (no, I don’t use that as my actual password for anything, it’s just an example!)
3. Who to go with? Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail all are favourites. Personally, I use Gmail a lot. (More about Gmail in a future column.)
4. It’s probably a good idea to have keep work email and private email separate. For instance, if you are away from the office for a while, you don’t want to have to log on to your office email just to find that check-in information for the flight back.
5. Subscribe to email newsletters – if you are genuinely interested in receiving them! For instance, there is the near-daily Skerries Newsflash (see below) sent out by Skerries Community Association (SCA). This one I definitely do want.
6. Unsubscribe from newsletters regularly. You might have given your email address to a number of organisations, and now they send you emails. Again and again and again. And these clutter up your inbox. Don’t let them! Nearly all of them have an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom. Make use of it. Take some time to go through your inbox and unsubscribe from all the updates that are not useful or amusing to you.
7. And finally: Check your spam folder regularly. About 5% of emails that I receive and that Gmail moves there are not spam at all, and some of those would have been quite important NOT to miss.
Insider Tip: Skerries Newsflash
Every day, Dee Langton, one of the Directors of Skerries Community Association, takes the emails sent to email@example.com and copies their text into the Newsflash, which then is sent out automatically early in the morning – community news, “small ads” type notices… if you get this, you’re certainly better informed about what’s happening in Skerries. (You can subscribe by sending an email with the subject line “Please add me to the Newsflash” to firstname.lastname@example.org). Anyone can submit an item, though it is at the discretion of the SCA what goes in.