Anyone else check their inbox compulsively?
It’s like the modern day waiting on the stoop for the postman, except in addition to notes from work and maybe a loved one, you get one too many promotional codes from stores you only subscribed to for the initial discount. Yet, the oft lack of a surprise factor doesn’t deter most. Instead we keep clicking, tapping, and refreshing.
But why? I’ve been giving it some thought, even asking friends. This curiosity stemmed from realizing my own habit— I find myself checking my email much more than my social media (and Instagram tells me I already spend 47 mins scrolling on average, daily :0 ). I check my email because I’m either waiting for a response, monitoring progress (how’s the publishing coming along? Is my order ever going to find itself out of the almighty FedEx grasp?) or manifesting that today will be the day I get that life-changing message. It can happen! Trust me.
But more times than not, I’m met with the same “read” emails, and a growing supply of promotional content I likely will never read. You’d think the repetition would lead me to cap the amount of time I check the inbox, but I don’t. And from what I’ve gathered from friends, I’m not alone on this one.
People talk of social media cleanses but not email fasts. And for fair reasons— can you realllly do it? Sure, there’s no checking of the work email while on vacation or limiting the hours you log in each day, but many of us don’t decide to just completely opt out at any given moment because we want a break. I mean, something important might come through that will need a response.
Because I’m damn near convinced there’s a human truth lying behind even seemingly minor obsessions, I’d like to think a part of this on-going routine is the longing for truly personalized correspondence that isn’t given at face value. After all, we spend our day-to-day serving as faceless viewers to content, be it from our social feeds or the constant stream of ads being served up. It’s nice to feel special or important, and one way to make that happen is to send someone an actual message - with full sentences!
Then again, there might not be some bigger message behind all of this. Perhaps, people just like being on top of their incoming mail.