My Longest and Most Favourite Email Chain

My girlfriend and I started dating early in 2018. There’s quite an interesting story behind how we ended up meeting, which I might share more one day. But for the purpose of this article, it’s enough to know we ended up living together pretty quickly. And we also both mainly work from home. So I’m not sure why my longest and most favourite email chain started, really. But it’s giving me a lot of inspiration for life and work.

We’re pretty good at expressing our feelings for each other in person. And that’s matched by messages by text, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram etc. We’ll work on opposite sides of the same room, listening to the same music, and stop to chat at lunch. So I’m not sure why I originally emailed her with a cool office supplies Twitter account (Present & Correct, if you’re interested), but I’m guessing she might have been asleep or possibly working upstairs (occasionally we do separate far enough to work in different rooms for some time apart).

Incidentally, the use of female pronouns is simply to acknowledge she’s slightly less public and prone to over sharing online than I am.

That was 6 months and 95 emails and replies ago. And the conversation originally entitled ‘You Might Like’ is still going strong.

My Longest and Most Favourite Email Chain

It’s an interesting and ever-expanding collection. Despite all the note taking and bookmarking tools around, we spend so much time in email inboxes, that it’s easiest. And after 15+ years online, I’ve had to find and forward countless old correspondences, but even on big projects they’ve faded out after a few months. And rarely covered everything from work to relationships, food to comedy, and everything in between.

I’ve sent useful links for her business, and her for mine. We’ve shared ideas for future homes and offices (although increasingly that’s moved to Pinterest). Occasionally it’s been suggestions for Digital People in Peterborough and Peterborough STEM Festival. Or a TV show we should watch, an excerpt from an article with something romantic, a tip on how to successfully have a relationship with a writer, and upcoming gigs we might like to go to…

The content of those emails is always interesting, useful or entertaining. It’s also often personal. But the email chain itself is also pretty inspiring.


How To Replicate That Email Chain For Work:

I love sharing stuff I think someone will find worthwhile. It might purely be to make them laugh. Or it could help their life in some way. It’s why I became a writer. I think most people like the idea of being seen and respected as some kind of expert, connoisseur or maven. It’s a key driver behind sharing on social media.

But it’s not the sharing that’s important.

It’s the personal response. If I kept bombarding my girlfriend with emails and she never responded, I’d get bored. If I blogged without seeing any effect, I’d give up (and many people do).

That’s why I’m still so bemused by publications with large and diverse audiences shutting off their comments and ditching their forums. Too often it’s seen as a cost and resource drain. Not something that should be evolving and improving. So rather than fix problems, the interaction gets scrapped, or exported to something like a Facebook Group. Where you end up with the same problems, but the company can just ignore them more easily.

And it’s also made me realise that the sharing, interaction and groups I’ve wanted to build around some of my own projects have slipped or fallen by the wayside for various reasons. Something like Disposable Media thrived most when a diverse group worked together to share the best of their collective consciousness.

I need to get back to that way of thinking more, for work and play.

It doesn’t always result in a sustainable business in itself. There have been plenty of attempts to build various longterm conversations that had to end because they couldn’t support themselves. But if you have a reasonable business model or a defined benefit then they work. It’s one reason why email newsletters have experienced a massive resurgence. I’ll skip over 50 corporate mass mailouts to read the latest from Our Man Inside when it arrives, for example.

Time to work out how to facilitate more of that kind of sharing and communication. And to find more fun stuff to email to my favourite person…..