I appreciate the anxiety you must feel for not having seen a response from me to your recent e-mail, voice mail, Facebook message or status, tweet or Twitter DM, LinkedIn message or update, Skype message, text, SMS, iMessage, wink, nudge or semaphore.
The purpose of this message is to provide context as to my lack of any sign of activity.
Reason 1: Any mode of communication which does not redirect to my inbox, I probably ignore.
If you left a voice message, it gets forwarded to my e-mail so you’re good there.
Reason 2: Which e-mail address did you use?
As to which e-mail address to use, it all depends. I have a main address and a special address I give to close associates. Messages sent to these addresses end up in my main e-mail box. I also have a huge number of aliases, disposable addresses and dead-end mailboxes I give to sites who insist I log in or newsletters or retailers or other commercial entities who want an e-mail address to do business. If you are using an address other than my main address (which is different than the main address I used a couple of years ago), then it has probably fallen in the cracks between mailboxes.
Reason 3: You may have been assigned an order of precedence.
The order of precedence in which I respond to messages is as follows:
- My biggest paying client (…who provides me with half of my yearly revenues. That’s why they’re at the top of my priority list.);
- My other paying clients;
- Direct inquiries from people or organizations whom I am targeting to become paying clients in the short to medium term;
- People I already know and with whom I want to keep a strong connection (which includes cute and smart women, interesting people, or people who can introduce me to cute and smart women or interesting people, not necessarily in that order, or maybe it is);
- Past clients who have moved on and who still keep in touch (maybe they should be at #4, and if they are cute and smart, they already are);
- People I don’t know but whose message is interesting or intriguing (tip: it’s your subject line);
- (a big gap)
- Automated reminders;
- Messages from the government;
- People I don’t know who send me notes which read like spam, unsolicited e-mail, have blank subject lines, start with “Dear Mr. Or Mrs.”, from barristers representing millionaires or royalty and who need my help to get funds out of the country, or other communications which should be automatically filtered out.
Reason 4: I have better things to do than respond immediately to e-mail.
I am a very busy boy. And to appear busier, I may sit on a message for a while before responding. After all, if I respond to all messages equally and instantaneously, how busy will you think I am?
Reason 5: I’ve been working on a response.
I may have been thinking of a witty/insightful/inspiring (pick one) response and it’s not quite ready yet. Or your message got me so steamed that I’ve been rereading it, figuring out how to get back at you.
Reason 6: I may have started a response but was interrupted.
So that’s why I have so many unfinished – SQUIRREL!
Reason 7: I am Facebooking.
Reason 8: My eyes can’t stand the computer screen any more.
As I get older, I find the hour at which I want to turn off the screen gets earlier and earlier.
Reason 9: Your message has dropped off the first page.
I have set my e-mail reader to show the latest 200 messages, which is about a couple of days. I’m too intimidated by the backlog to go to the second page.
Reason 10: Your message got caught in my unread purge.
Once every few days I do a “select all / mark all as read” to get rid of that pesky unread badge. If it is really important, you’ll send me a reminder anyways, right?
Hope this clears up any misunderstandings. And if you happen not to respond to this reply, I won’t take it personally.
For more information
Image credit: Stephen Rees via Flickr
Direct link: https://flic.kr/p/9UWkKp
Used under Creative Commons licence