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Managing Mailing List Mail

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Aaron Schaap

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User since: 10 Apr 2002

Articles written: 2

As a web developer, I�m sure there have been times when you�ve been stuck and nobody in your office knows how to fix the problem. I work for myself and I don�t have the luxury of asking office folks. What I do is join a mailing list.

For those of you who have joined a mailing list, you probably aren�t all that excited about receiving 200+ emails per day nor do you have the time to go through all those. The deal with mailing lists is to know what you want to get out of

them — whether you just want to get one question answered or become the next

mailing list knowledge expert.

Here are two tips for managing your mailing list mail:

Use a different email address

Don�t use your main email account. If the email you send out to family, friends, and/or a client is, don�t have a mailing list send everything there. You can always find a free email address somewhere and if you have your own

Web site, odds are you can easily create a new account in a matter of seconds.

So after you set up something like and your main email address is still, you should probably set up an easy way to differentiate the two.

I do this by using an email client that supports multiple email accounts,

such as Outlook Express. Outlook Express allows you to have various Identities and switching between these Identities is easy.

If you don't know about this tool, it�s simple. In Outlook Express just go to

File > Identities > Add New Identity. Once you set this up, you�ll be able to keep your main email account completely separate from your Mailing list account.

Read only relevant messages

The second thing about reading a mailing list is to understand you aren�t ever going to be able to read and answer every question and comment. Your best bet is to only read the ones you would like to know more information about or the ones you might have experience in and can help a distressed user.

My way is to look over my list a couple times a day and glance over the titles of questions. If there is a thread that looks interesting to me, or a thread that I might be able to contribute to, I�ll keep it. Any others I simply delete. Now my list of over 200 emails is

cut down to around 50 — still a lot but a heck easier to swallow.

When all is said and done and you don�t find yourself needing the mailing list by your side, it�s probably best to just get off the list. Jumping on and off a mailing list is usually an easy event and it helps when you are trying to finish that project that got you on the mailing list in the first place.

Aaron is a freelance web developer in Holland, Michigan with a focus on making the web a better comunication tool. He spends most of his time playing around with his personal site ( or learning about CSS and web standards.

When he's not on the computer he usually sleeping or hiking with his friends.

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