October 28, 2007

What ARCHIVE Button?

You know sometimes when someone says, "Didn't you ever do X?" where X is something you should have done but stupidly didn't know anything about? yeah. so. right.

Here's what I didn't know about gmail:

You never know when you might need a message again, but with traditional webmail services, you delete it and it's gone forever. With Gmail, you can easily archive your messages instead, so they'll still be accessible when you need them. If you decide you no longer want a message in your Inbox, just hit the 'Archive' button and the message will still be available in 'All Mail' or through a search.

'All Mail' is the holding place for all of the messages you've sent or received, but not deleted. When you delete a message, it's gone forever. With Gmail, you have enough storage space to last for years without deleting a single message. Just archive everything and all your messages will be searchable and easily accessible.
I've used Gmail for 4 years, but not exculsively until I got my mac (correction, until my blog READERS got me my mac) a few months ago. I had gotten used to the folder structure in Outlook, and when I moved to Gmail over time, I really valued the search box at the top, because that was how I could find anything and everything I needed. I figured I didn't NEED to move my inbox mail around anymore. What with all these MBs of storage, let er ride!

Problem is, I never noticed the Archive button. I never RTFM either. I didn't know about All Mail--I never even NOTICED it. Every once in a while I'd go clear out spam, and empty trash, but that was it. I figured Google was doing the archiving. OF COURSE I WANT MY ASP TO ARCHIVE MY DATA. They archive my blog for me--why not my mail?

Do they archive? I don't know yet. I posted on the forum Shelley suggested. We'll see.

Funny thing is, lots of the bloggers have popped up in GChat to ask if I've found my inbox mail yet. I tell them no, and then I say, "TIP: if you haven't archived, go do it. now." TO A MAN/WOMAN, they're like: ARchive? What the hell is that? How?

Like me, they jumped into gmail and never really bothered to think about DOING anything with their mail. Like me, they just saw the little archive and allmail features for the first time after my crisis.

e. chatted me up and said, where did you put your inbox mail? I mean you archived it right? I'm like, no i kept it in my inbox. she's like what do you mean--ALL of it? I said, well yeah, all of it. and she's like how...why...wha.. how many messages? I said, thousands. She said, MBs? I said, lots--like almost 30% full. She said: You never archived it? me: :-(

See, she keeps her inbox empty. She does the right thing and archives her mail like continuously. As we reviewed how we use gmail, it became apparent that we are polar opposite gmail users.

If i were you, I'd model my gmail habits after e., not me.

So my question is: How often do you archive your gmail?

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