Separating your social and real life

Daniel Pataki
Jul 18, 2008
Updated • Dec 4, 2012

I just realized this the other day, social sites send an awful lot of "quasi-junk" mail to inboxes around the world. This person wants to share a video with me, that person commented on my video, someone sent me a shout on Digg, someone wants to add me as a StumbleUpon friend, XXYY is following me on Digg and the list goes on and on and on.

You might think I'm a social junkie, no way. I love social sites, but I actually never use them because I can't be bothered to update my status all the time, keep track of others and so on. I use the absolute bare minimum, Stumble Upon for my blog and for fun, Digg now and then, Twitter to keep in contact with my readers and others and Youtube for my music and I get at least 20 emails from these services daily. If you are a heavy socializer, I suggest creating a separate inbox for these things.

The best way to do that is creating a forwarder to shoot all these social emails to another inbox, while still being able to provide your regular email address at these sites. Is it really that important to acknowledge a friend request right away or to view that shared video 5 seconds after it's sent? Just shoot everything off to a separate inbox and spend 20 minutes at the end of the day going through your social mail. This will make your like a lot more productive and you will be interrupted much less. If you are an active social person on the web please let us know how you cope with all the emails, and other "paperwork" this generates, I'm dying to know how others do this.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Jordan said on July 22, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    I use an RSS reader to keep track of everything. A good one that I found is Sharpreader.

  2. Tom said on July 21, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Gmail is my primary e-mail client – I have set up a filter that catches e-mails from all of the social networking sites to which I subscribe, labels them “Social Networking”, and skips the inbox.

    Just like you say, every once-in-a-while I clear out all of the new messages waiting under the “Social Networking” label. If I had to see all of these notifications in my inbox, I don’t think I would ever get anything done.

  3. Elle said on July 18, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Interesting posting!

    I don’t know about the other part of the world, but back in my country Indonesia. Me and my friends always have at least 2 emails per individual.

    One is for official email, usually contain our real name in it and one for junk emails, or not so important emails from not so important friends. If you know what I mean.

    This way, we are order to separate our private life and our ‘social’ life.

    Hm, when it comes to me. I separate my emails based on my needs:
    One email for official things – booking confirmations, applying job, banks document
    One email for only close friends – incl. boyf
    One email for sign-up things on internet -hey sometime they asked us to verify. eq. friendster, facebook, ivillage then they spam us with this daily news..sigh**
    Another email for not so close friends, but you still like them to always there when someday you need them.

    Hmm.. now..can you guess which email i used now ;-)

    The little minus thing is you have to keep those email addresses always active. Otherwise you’ll loose them. Don’t know about u guys, but so far (for years) I’m fine with it, and felt really organized!

    Happy surfing~

  4. Rarst said on July 18, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I am not much into social sites, but it seems I’ll have to start. :) StumbleUpon sent me small (but large for me) traffic spike yesterday and I couldn’t even figure out what was stumbled and where do I look at it on their site. Queued for figuring out together with delicious.

    My way of separating info is email vs RSS for different tasks.

    If I comment here, for example, I use email notification option. I don’t know if any comments are going to follow and for how long. So email is perfect.

    In a place that I know to update daily and with a bunch of stuff – I use RSS. If RSS is unavaible – I scrape and create one. This allows me to set exact refresh pace and make few places update at the same time so I can look through them in one sweep.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.