Between this site and Hardware 2.0 over on ZDNet, I get a lot of email from readers. Over the past week I've been keeping an eye on the email I've been receiving and I've categorized it into a few broad categories, and I thought that it would be interesting to share them with you. Also, if you read on I'll give you tips on how to best to get me to reply to you! 😉
Email, by category:
- Emails claiming that I'm a shill for Microsoft - 10%
- Emails claiming that I'm a shill for Apple - 10% (Proves I'm balanced, right?)
- Emails claiming that I'm a shill for a particular Linux distro or that I'm backing the wrong distro - 5%
- Junk PR email (stuff which in no way relates to my area of coverage) - 15% (Do your homework!!!)
- Relevant PR communication - 10%
- Psycho stuff claiming a big conspiracy link between Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, werewolves and the saucer people) - 5% (This goes into my Psycho folder ...)
- Incoherent ramblings - 5%
- Thanks you messages - 5% (Nice, eh!)
- People asking for help with a problem - 25% (However, about 15% of these emails are so vague I can't even get a clear idea of the problem. Stuff like "My PC keeps crashing, can you help?" really doesn't give me much to go on.)
- Tips, hot scoops, etc - 5% (Thanks!)
- Misc - 5%
I like getting emails, and I read every one (and I work hard at the incoherent ones or those that seem to be little more than howling at the moon). However, I can't possibly reply to all of them. My current reply rate is somewhere around 10%, which isn't too bad considering. Other times I use the email as the basis for a post, especially if I think the information will help others.
However, there are a few things that you can do that will increase your chances of getting a response:
- Be clear
- Be concise
- Be polite (Yep, it helps)
- Send money (Only kidding!)
- Make sure that your email address is correct, especially if you want a reply (Nothing is more disheartening than composing a reply only to have that bounce because the email address is wrong ... 🙁 )
- If you're referring to something I've written somewhere, give me a clue what (I write a lot and "That Linux post ..." or "That Vista piece" doesn't give me much to go on ...)
- If you're asking for permission to use an image (in a PowerPoint, newsletter, school project, etc), be clear what you want. If the image is mine to begin with I usually have no problems saying "yes" to any non-commercial use, but some images on this site aren't mine to make available.
- If you're sending me a tip or hot scoop, I'm happy to give you credit. Also, if you want total confidentiality, I can provide that.