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Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

Tout's Analytics Hold Up a Mirror to Email Behaviors

Quantifying the daily crush of email will make you want to write fewer of them.

  • December 30, 2011

Thanks to email management startup Tout, I just got access to an analytics dashboard that includes an array of deftly visualized statistics covering my use of email in 2011. And you can too, right here. If you’re wondering what you’ll get in exchange for giving Tout access to every email you sent and received in the past year, here’s a sample dashboard, so you can get a feel for the results. (They promise they don’t read or store any of it.)

The main thing I learned is that quantifying the volume of emails I send and receive every day helps explain why I always feel helpless in the face of my ever-expanding inbox. Here’s the bottom line:

  • I received nearly 30,000 emails in 2011, an average of 82 a day.
  • I sent 7,200 emails, an average of 20 a day.

Tout isn’t just a dashboard. The company’s real business is a system that allows sales and PR folk to create templates, track the performance of the emails they send, etc. It’s designed to make people more productive with email, which remains stubbornly important despite everyone’s attempts to kill it.

One of the most important things my Tout dashboard taught me is that a lot of the email I receive is essentially me spamming myself – alerts, newsletters and the like. Seeing the numbers laid out like this, I wonder: what’s my time really worth?

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