Why I'm Not Blogging From the Email Insider Summit

OK, technically, this is a blog. And don't get me wrong, I have nothing against blogging or those who blog. I was asked by Media Post to blog at the summit but, to quote '70s philosopher Ram Dass, sometimes we need to "Be Here Now."*

At any time during the presentations, at least half of the crowd was typing away on laptops or smartphones. Many of us had work obligations that wouldn't wait and others were texting, emailing, Twittering and blogging. I found myself so agitated by the pressure to work and blog that I wasn't completely engaged.

Regardless of how good one is at multitasking, these frenetic activities prevent you from "thought marshalling," defined in Wired's Jargon Watch as "reinforcing memories by briefly dozing after learning new material." If sleeping helps organize your thoughts, I suppose doing several things at once would have the opposite effect. At some point I said, screw it, I'm going to do what I came to do: listen, think and learn.

At most big conferences you are alone in a group of hundreds, avoiding eye contact with those manning booths, lest they want to talk to you. At the Summit, you are in an intimate group and have real conversations, some of which yield solutions and insights into issues you face.

I learned, for example, how Fresh Address can update email addresses even when the physical address is unknown. I learned how Iconix and BrandMail can put a logo next to your company name in the inbox, helping you stand out in the crowd and protect users from phishers. I learned that Microsoft saw a 22% increase when banner ads were used on search pages, and why they recommend using banner ads on Web-based email pages to coincide with users' discussing purchases and plans with friends and family.

I learned that direct mail is really the only medium most feel is acceptable for unsolicited promotions, (see Exact Target's recently published 2008 Channel Preference Survey) and that permission marketers are too nice to challenge those who want to use email as a mass advertising channel. And while Facebook is the medium of choice for college students, they still use email to communicate with the "adult" world and, after graduation, stay in touch with updates in the network.

To get a better play-by-play from accomplished multitaskers, go to Tamara Gielen's blog, or David Goetzl's blog on Media Post Raw .

Hope you were able to marshal your thoughts on Memorial Day.

Good Luck!

The Email Diva

*If you've had it with Baby Boomers shoving '70s philosophy down your throat, check out Joe Queenan's "Balsamic Dreams" or Jeff Gordinier's "X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking."



Send your questions or submit your email for critique to Melinda Krueger, the Email Diva, at All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.

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