I ♥ Gmail. I just do. I love how it works, I love how easy it is, I love that it’s ubiquitous, I love the interface…I just love it.
Like a whole slew of people, I got the new tabbed inbox last week.
And like most of you, I imagine, I’ve received email upon email and have seen countless Facebook updates from people with something to sell via email alerting me to the fact that Gmail has taken over my email with the new tabs.
By the time I’d seen the 10th one (before I'd actually gotten the roll out of the tabbed Inbox), I thought for certain the sky was falling. Their messages, with subject lines like, “Gmail won’t think we’re friends, Anastacia!” or, “Don’t let me get lost in your Gmail, Anastacia!” instructed me, quite precisely, and with great fervor, to move their ezines back into my Primary inbox, or risk never seeing them again.
Having now spent some time with the tabs, not only do I know that the sky is not falling, CHicken Little, but to their request I move their mail back to my Primary box, I have this to say:
And not for the reason you might think. It’s not that I’m excited that I don’t ever again have to see what they send and I’m happy that they’ll be buried over there behind my Promotions tab. If I didn’t actually want to get what they send, I’m a big girl, know how to unsub from lists, and would do exactly that.
My “Heck no!” reason is this: I think the tabbed inboxes are bloody brilliant. I wish Google had been smart enough to make this happen years ago. It’s fresh, exciting, and most of all, super-helpful.
My take on it, as a Gmail User
It’s downright cool. Of the five tabs Gmail created by default, I kept Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates, and ditched Forums as it’s not useful to me. And now, different sorts of email are filtered into the appropriate boxes (tabs), for me to pay attention to when I have time.
Further, when something that should be in Promotions, or Social ends up in Primary, I like that I can “teach” Gmail where I want that email to go instead, so that it’s separated out just the way I like it. I could have done that before with labels and filters, but I didn’t. Based on the way I work, I wouldn’t have thought to look in labels for stuff. And I don’t really use labels, either (this post says why).
But these new tabs aren’t like the ordinary text labels running down the side of my inbox. They’re tabs at the top, with a text title and a colorful indicator when I have new mail. The color indicator isn’t obtrusive; it doesn’t get in my way like some sort of screaming eye-candy, yet it’s there, always a reminder when there are things I haven’t yet seen. It’s just nice.
And I love that I get to focus on the things that really deserve to be in my Primary box—you know, things that are actually “primary” to me, like notes from clients, people who want to work with me or have a questions about one of our training programs, and friends, family, and beloveds. Things I need and want to pay attention to now. Things of real importance to my life and business.
As much as I love some of the ezines I subscribe to, and enjoy the promotions that people send, they will never, ever be of primary importance to me. And that’s why it’s great that they now all go into Promotions
Message to those who promote to me
Before, with all my mail going in to one box, most of the time, I scanned the headlines of ezines/promos, and unless I had time to read them right then, I’d delete them in the interest of efficiency, productivity, and maintaining my zero-inbox (yes; it’s not something I pay lip-service to or try to do, but something I actually get to every time I do email).
But now that they don’t clutter up the flow of getting to my most important email, now that Gmail advises me that there’s stuff to read with colorful alerts—and that on my iPhone, they even send an email to let me know there’s stuff in the other tabs, I’m reading far more, and deleting far less.
How’s that for a twist?
Now I do realize that not everyone is like me. And the beauty of it is that if you’re not like me, you can easily go back to one inbox by going to Settings->Inbox and unchecking everything except Primary. Easy-breezy, lemon squeezy!
I just really wanted to share, amid the Chicken Little messages, that at least for this Gmail super-fan, the tabbed inboxes are super-helpful, absolutely something I’ll be keeping, and a boon to the people whose marketing messages I choose to receive.
How about you? What do you think about the tabbed inbox, and how has it changed your email consumption?