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All in a day’s deletions
Peter Funt
Peter Funt

I spend the first half hour of my day reading — or, to be more accurate, deleting — emails. Lacking the nerve to “unsubscribe” for fear I’ll miss something of moderate importance, I trash an average of 75 messages every morning, without ever getting beyond the subject line.

Guaranteed to go: Emails beginning with my first name or warning of my last chance to do something. I also delete anything containing an exclamation point.

Among the subject lines on a recent Tuesday: “Our editors want to hear from you!” (The Hill). “Last chance: save on essential spring stories” (Des Moines Register). “Just Arrived!!” (GolfEtail Deals). “Peter, this deal will be music to your ears” (SiriusXM). “Peter, your bonus content is available” (USA Today). “Peter: Love this for you!” (Etsy).

According to a company called Content Marketing Institute, the “10 Best Practices to Write the Perfect Email Subject Line,” include: “Make it personalized,” “Use power words,” “Appeal to vanity,” and “Create FOMO” (fear of missing out). Clearly, none of these practices works on me.

I receive a lot of email newsletters, few of which I actually read. I’m especially annoyed by contrived chattiness, with greetings such as, “Hi, it’s Ashley. Today is Tuesday, so we’re almost halfway to the weekend!” The subject line on one newsletter I quickly deleted was, “Tuesday, I am fading” (The Daily Skimm).

I rely on several news services for overnight updates, but I tend to immediately trash all emails concerning: Tucker Carlson, debate over the deficit, the crypto market, or warnings about El Niño.

Tuesday’s deletions also had these subject lines: “No degree? No problem.” (New York Times). “Scram, roboscams” (Axios). “Bay Area city fights to preserve its rotten legacy” (San Jose Mercury News).

Since I work in the entertainment industry I must delete many showbiz emails, including: “Schwarzenegger Gets Candid on Career…” (Hollywood Reporter). Also: “Journalist Spit on By Johnny Depp’s Cannes Director Speaks Out” (Variety).

I frequently write about politics, but the barrage of worthless emails in that arena is often overwhelming. On Tuesday I trashed without reading: “Trump as President in 2024...” (Donald J. Trump). “Don’t believe Donald Trump” (Conde Nast Spotlight).

According to published reports, the number of emails sent each day worldwide is close to 350 billion.

That’s a whole lot of FOMO.

Peter Funt is a writer and speaker