What is going on with my emails?

A quote often attributed to George Bernard Shaw observed that, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Scholars may disagree on the original author but the sentiment applies well in the modern world. Through the opening months of 2016 I think I have spent more time investigating errant emails than has ever previously been necessary.

Let us start with a few basics and consider what is changing. Technology market research firm Radicati suggest that around 205 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2015. That is almost two emails per day for every person who has ever lived, let alone the living world population. Quite a chunk of this will be spam or malicious mail leaving some servers and filtering systems over burdened with the ever-rising work load.

The threat of ransomware and similar malicious mail has contributed to many filtering systems erring increasingly on the side of caution when blocking mail. Some anti-spam methods seem to drop the non-delivery reports a genuine bounced email would generate so it becomes ever harder to investigate what has happened to a ‘lost’ mail.

There are many reasons – some technical, others not – which can contribute to an email being lost, deleted, overlooked or simply misunderstood. I’d be straying from brave to foolish to suggest to most users that we should look for alternatives to email but it may be that we could validate the process a little more and, perhaps, assume a little less as the circumstances require.

For some basic thoughts on how to help minimise the chances of your mails getting filtered have a read through some basics here.