of emails and newsletters, and thoughts on blogging

I was trying to find online the recently coined phrase for those emails that aren’t spam, but also are notes from friends, or business communiques either.  I couldn’t find the term but along the way found some interesting flotsam. 

I read about eyetracking studies that reveal how users read individual newsletters online. The study showed that the average time allocated to a newsletter after opening it was only 51 seconds. “Reading” is not even the right word, since participants fully read only 19% of newsletters. The predominant user behavior was scanning. Often, users didn’t even scan the entire newsletter: 35% of the time, participants only skimmed a small part of the newsletter or glanced at the content. These are alarming for the marketing folks who spend days or weeks compiling these communications.  More interesting perhaps, is the actual images the researchers published of eyetracking heat maps, below images of a reader’s eye pattern on a newsletter and website, respectively. 

newsletter_heatmap         eyetracking_corporate_site_about_us

Also in my never-ending quest for fun marketing words, I found Linkrot: What happens when links go bad over time, either because a Web site has shut down or a site has stopped supporting a unique landing page provided in an email promotion. 

Finally, I learned about three types of email users, as defined by Nathan Black. Type A users delete everything fairly quickly and never hit their mailbox-size ceiling, so administrators generally don’t need to worry much about them. The two other types store messages for future use, either because the messages contain some business value (Type B) or because they answer a question that will probably come up again (Type C). Type B users are fairly organized; they use some kind of folder structure to make it easy to locate items, filing messages by project name, for example. Their mailboxes might grow steadily, but they seldom contain nonbusiness mail. Type C users are disorganized. Their Inboxes may have 1000 or more items, including daily newsletters from a year or two ago, and their mailboxes grow rapidly. Type C users appear to comprise only about 10 percent of the population. 

Or by another taxonomy classification developed by pendanticist of WebmasterWorld, I must determine if I’m a magpie (one who files their messages carefully), an ostrich (feeling so overwhelmed by information that I ignore new messages) or a squirrel (amassing huge amounts of email, refusing to get rid of old messages just in case they might need them.  

I’m mostly a Type B Magpie with squirrelly tendencies, but it’s quite time consuming, the manual purge as thing are deemed obsolete. 

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Published in: on October 23, 2007 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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