Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Journey with Gmail

I discovered Gmail after becoming increasingly annoyed with using Yahoo Mail. I was being spammed to death and I needed something new.

Enter Gmail.

I started with an address that mirrored my Yahoo address, then invited my entire address book to start using this new account. Next, I created my address. I attach this address to my Blogger account, so whenever someone email me through Blogger, I know exactly where it came from because each subject line came with the mr.busypants email address as a label right before the subject line.

In addition to blogging, I spend a lot of time online teaching writing and literature at three Chicago-area colleges. While I was having tremendous success managing my personal email, it frustrated me to have to check so many other email accounts regularly.

To alleviate this pressure, I created separate Gmail accounts for each college. The naming convention I used was: school initials (dot) my last name @ Next, I went into the settings page on each account, clicked on the Accounts tab, and added the address both to "Send mail as:" and "Get mail from other accounts."

I only use my email account for College 1 for the occasional outgoing messages that need my official email. All email in that account is forwarded directly to my account.

College 2 requires me to use my assigned email account, so I give my students the gmail address I created for that school. Then I set "Rules" in the College 2 email account that forward all emails from specified addresses (like the dean's and other important people in my department and others I coorespond with regularly) and specified key phrases (like English 1102, online classes, and Blackboard.) I still check this email pretty regularly, but the important stuff gets through more quickly and is not missed in the endless emails I receive that I delete after reading the subject.

As for College 3, I don't have many students , and it makes sense to use my college-given account. I don't get that much email to that account that I want to check it several times a day, so I have all email from that account forwarded to my Gmail account. That way I know when to check that account and respond accordingly.

Now I essentially have five separate email accounts going into one inbox: one personal, one blog, and three school. Each email I receive from another account has a label specific to that account, so it's easy to scan my inbox for email from each school. Once I've done with an email, I label it, file it, and I'm done with it.

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