Why e-mail should be more like RSS: I’m one of those people who barely scratch the surface of using all the features software offers. Then, one day, I’m thinking, “I wish I could do this” and after poking around a little, I discover the feature was there all along.
For example, using (on my Mac) NetNewsWire, I have lots of RSS feeds organized in a hierarchy of folders (It looks a little like this screen shot on the Ranchero website, but mine is way more obsessively organized. When I travel, I usually spend some time pruning feeds from the list, or moving feeds from one folder to another.)
Long ago, I came to the conclusion that all feeds are not created equal. Some I want to be refreshed very often, and I want to check them as soon as they are refreshed. Others I want to check only in the evening. Some I like to see on the weekend. Some, I can wait until I “get around to it.”
So, duh, I just discovered (from the rockstar of organizational hacks like this, Merlin Mann) that NetNewsWire has my dream feature, one that’s probably been there forever – and one I wish I had on my e-mail. By choosing the “Info” option under the “Window” menu, I can set up custom refresh schedules for each feed, or for an entire folder of feeds. You can even set it up to opt out of a manual refresh of all feeds.
Can you do that with e-mail? Let mail from person A into my in-box immediately. Let mail from person B into my in-box only once every hour. Let mail from person C into my in-box every full-moon. Etc. If we had RSS-mail instead of e-mail, we could.
Update: Thanks to those power Mac mail users who have headed me into a higher state consciousness. As much as I thought I was a filtering fool, there apparently is much more I can do.