Is your e-mail Inbox flooded with mailing list messages? Mine is. Every week I receive about a dozen e-mails from Buddhist groups I join. I have applied filters based on senders, but this is not very effective as senders sometimes change their e-mail addresses.
Recently, I learned another method to filter mailing list messages, using Gmail’s ‘plus addressing’ feature. This is how it works:
Assuming that your Gmail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and you have joined a Nintendo group. You can generate another e-mail address, say supermario+Nintendo@gmail.com, and give it to the group you join. Now you can set up filter to automatically archive or label the messages addressed to supermario+Nintendo.
But seriously, mailing list is sooooooo 2005. Today groups and organizations can provide updates to their members through Internet forums, blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps the only time when e-mail is still necessary is for sending attachments other than pictures and video clips.
Updating through social networking sites has some added advantages. First, the messages in forums and blogs can be easily searched using Google or tags. Second, rather than passive recipients of information, the members can drop comments and participate in discussion. (The second point is also true for Facebook.) Last but not least, every time an e-mail is forwarded, its format changes, e.g. character ‘>’ is inserted to the beginning of each line. There is no such problem with ‘new media’.
Mailing list is still required, much as we still surf Net with PC in the age of smart phone. However, I would like to see its role shrinking.