Saturday, February 8, 2014

A New Piece for My Work-Flow Strategy

Yes, I've added a fourth email.

I think I’m a pretty organized guy, and I’m really proud of my ability to share great resources with but I know that I’m a mere amateur compared to some of my PLN when it comes to content organization and curation.  I’m working on a post that talks about my overall Chrome-based productivity life, but today, I did something that made me stop and think - I created a fourth email address to help organize my world.

I’m thinking about this not only for me, but also for the kids in our schools, and mine at home, who are growing up in a digital world.  I have set up emails for my own kids that they don’t use so that I can send them things I want them to have in the future, but if your students are like mine, they have email and use it randomly and rather haphazardly, to be honest.  I’m seeing this as one of those pieces that we may be missing if we mistakenly believe that our “digital natives” are strong, reflective “digital citizens.” Even if students claim to no longer use email, I’m not sure I’m seeing it go away.  Yes, there are other ways to message people and share files, but I’m still going to bet on email’s remaining a relevant part of the mix.  

What four emails do I now have:

1) This is my junk file.  My brother, who’s very involved in an academic arm of internet privacy and safety groups, once wisely said: “If something is being given to you for free, it’s likely that you are the product being sold.”  I sign up for a lot of apps and other resources, and I’m almost 100% against using my FaceBook account to do so.  Twitter and LinkedIn sometimes get used, but those functions are specific to those sites, so I accept the trade-off.  What this means is that I’m giving out my email a lot, which I’m assuming means that it’s getting sold a lot.  I have an email account that they can stuff all they’d like.  I scroll through it and double check for anything interesting, but it’s 99.5% junk.

2) My personal mail.  This is where I talk to my friends and others whom I actually want to talk to.  It’s also my gmail, so Google + and Google Drive run with it.  Yes, I know that Google may just be out there selling my existence, but I don’t get any junk mail there, so I’m happy.

3) My professional account.  Work life these days is flooded with email.  Usually, most of us will have an email assigned to us at work.  In NYC (and I assume a lot of other places are also this way), DOE employees’ emails were so limited in function and memory and access, that nobody used them, meaning that I actually had two professional emails (one official one for anything confidential and the other for communicating with staff on a regular basis).

4) This is my new one.  It’s for “resources,” and I’m the only one who has it.  I am currently piecing together a post about my strategy for work flow and long-term content curation, but I’m swimming in content and I just can’t get to it all in the moment to figure where I want it to live, so I created an easy place to send things until I have time to figure it out.  I used to “favorite” tweets and go back to that list, but there are just too many to make that realistic.  I also now use “favorite” to also mean: “I agree so much that I’m going to share with other but don’t feel the need to reply that sentiment to you.”  While I used to open the link and then email it to my personal account, I now email the whole tweet to this new account so that I have the link / information and the source so that I can go back and thank whomever shared it. This is also a place where I can pull things from Feedly and Facebook and emails and general web browsing.

I’m curious to know if our middle school kids are being taught about having separate “registration,” “personal,” and “school” accounts.  Maybe at one point these were all tough to check, but iPads mail functions put them all together, so it’s easy.  Maybe at one point, email will become fully moot, but until then, I’m happy with my strategy.   

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