I HAVE WATCHED and listened to people engaged in Five Line Email Challenges since the days of my Nokia E90 and I have also learned all sorts of techniques from those promoting email brevity. I'm trying my own strategy, helped by G+.
A few years ago, I made a point of constraining all work-related email to 140 characters. That resulted in my non-twit brethren thinking I was curt and even rude. For the past three months, I've started my rambles inside Google Plus, locking some URLs down so they're not public, and then sending the link to the "rest of the story" as part of my email. This works well--if people are plussed. If they're not inside Google Plus, they just get the totally fat-free email correspondence. If they want to thread their response, they just get into Google Plus. I send my emails using the BCC field, so people cannot see the total thread unless they spend time in a conversational framework (i.e., using Google Plus).
My Email Brevity Workflow starts with me rambling on Google Plus, ensuring there's no trade secret that may be compromised by the people who will receive the email, then merely linking to the G+ post. I also use URL shorteners with some of the correspondence. (This post is reduced at http://t9.ie/fatfreemail.) Because the conversations are on Google Plus, they are archived, everyone can participate and there's one single source of truth. On my Nokia E7, iPod Touch and Xperia Arc, the on-screen presentation of G+ is more efficient than inside Google Documents.
Here's to email brevity, the single tactic that will restore my inbox to zero.
Previously -- "My email weighs less than 100kb", on Irish Typepad, September 20, 2003.
Hutch Carpenter -- "The email brevity challenge" on his blog, January 5, 2009.