Keeping Email Simple

Once a month I blog about social media. I have always held an interest in learning about computers and the digital world. For many years, I was a bulletin editor; and for several of those years, I did content for our church website. During part of my last year there, I was the social media admin and spent the last few months training a new social media admin, as well as other staff members on our new parish communication app.

Last year when choosing what to write about for my weekly blog posts, I happily chose social media as one of my four or five topics to focus on. Not because I know so much about it, but because I have learned so much along the way and wish to share it with those who need a little extra help in navigating our digital and social media world.

For the next few months, I have decided to focus on one platform at a time. I would like to share what I have learned over the last several years of working online with platforms of all types including email, databases, websites, and social media applications.

Today I will start by providing a few tips about email. Every day I run across people who seem to be easily intimidated by email. Email has been around for many years now, and we really should be more comfortable about certain aspects. Let me provide you with three ways I make my email life simpler these days.

My first recommendation is to learn how to filter your emails. The most overwhelming thought when it comes to email is facing an Inbox overflowing with a mixture of bills, advertisements, sales or coupons, messages from doctors, newsletters, and more. But short of unsubscribing to every email that might later be important to you, try using the filter feature first.

I have to admit it took me a while to learn about this feature, but it has been a lifesaver. In fact, I spent a few minutes earlier today adding the filter to more of my emails. Once I have time to read my newsletters, I can just go to that folder and they will be waiting for me there. Or when I am looking to see what book coupons are available, I will find them in my Books folder.

Every email app, whether it is Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, or other, has an email filter feature where you can tell certain emails to be placed in certain folders before they ever reach your inbox. It is just a matter of learning how to use it. Yes, it may take a little time to figure it out; but once you do, your inbox will only have what is most important to you. In my case, my bill notifications, doctor appointment and webinar reminders, and emails from friends and family.

My second recommendation is to not click on any email that looks questionable. If an email looks fishy, it probably is. The trick is to hover on the sender’s email address. Most of the time, the address is not an AT&T or Amazon email address. Often, the address is from some unknown entity. Most important, even if an email address looks legitimate, it can still be untrustworthy.

No matter how legitimate these emails look, I do not click on the links or attachments or reply to them. And I recommend that you do not either. Some come with “invoices” attached or a link to take you to a website to resolve the issue. Even if nothing appears to happen, a virus can attach itself to your contact list or the files in your computer to be launched later under certain conditions. The individuals who send these emails count on us, you and me, to be curious and click on them.

Lately, I have been getting emails from Amazon that my account has been suspended and from Instagram that they are sorry I cannot log onto my account. The email addresses look legitimate. And yet, it doesn’t make sense to me as I have just been on my accounts with no trouble. So I go back and, sure enough, there is no issue. I just delete these emails as phishing (scam) emails. If you ever get any like this, do not be tempted to click on the link or attached PDF. Just delete them.

My third recommendation is, if something about any email confuses you, just ask a trusted friend, Google it, or search YouTube. It is far better to ask than to click on a malicious email or be frustrated or overwhelmed by some unknown piece of information. I believe no question is ever dumb. Every question is about learning and expanding our knowledge base. Every time we learn one new thing it becomes easier to learn a second new thing. This can be very confidence-boosting when it comes to the digital world and social media.

So, do like I do and ask a friend, Google it, search for it on YouTube…or open any trusted browser and type in your question(s). The more you learn, the more you can navigate your email with ease. If you are like me and use email for several things such as bill notifications; medical appointment, webinar, and workshop reminders; letters with family and friends; and promoting a craft or small business, it is important to:

  • research easy, streamlining tips,
  • filter unnecessary emails that clutter the important ones, and
  • avoid clicking on phishing (spam) emails.

If you enjoyed these tips and gained new insight from them, please let me know. Also, please feel free to ask me questions about any concern you might have about email life. Yes, email life. It used to be snail-mail was the only way…and, trust me, I am an avid letter-writer (by long hand)…, but most of us now use an email app.

Although I do know a few people who have managed to function without succumbing to our digital world, for the most part, email is here to stay. And learning to make it easier and more simple is the key to stress-free usage.

This blog is a little late. I am in the middle of a move from the city to the country. Today is my second day at my last “forever” home. I had an appointment at one yesterday afternoon to have Internet installed, but we have too many trees. Imagine that, lol. So, I am working off my smart phone’s hotspot. On Thursday, we have an appointment with a different company that can install a tower tall enough to get a signal over the trees.

Next blog post is expected to be published on the second Sunday of July. Topic: Marriage.

Be sure to check out my book, “HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within.” It makes a great gift for anyone. It’s a nonfiction, inspirational, easy-to-read, feel-good kind of book.

You can find it on my Books page, by visiting my Amazon author page or Barnes & Noble.

Thank you and be safe out there.

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