Saw this statement in an article which was announcing the new tabbed Inbox for GMail (which I totally dig and am waiting for).
Spam is no longer binary.
I think this is very true these days. There are ofcourse some emails which are clearly 100% spam, but GMail and other webservices catch these pretty well. I rarely get any of these any more.
There are some of the other emails that land in my inbox announcing offers and getaways and deals. Most times it looks like spam to me, but there are times, when I let them be, because I feel there might be use for it later. A 50% offer on all best seller books in flipkart is something that looks like spam, but I may look it up some time.
Similarly, emails from my credit card company and/or banks. Most times I dont read them (except for the statements). But I am always afraid that there is some important information that these guys may have told me and that I may need to look up later (maybe during tax filing season!). Thank God for the Archive button in Gmail.
The third type of grey-spam are the social updates. Updates from Twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn. These are important to me, but look like spam to me sometimes.
The new tabbed inbox that is due to roll out very soon in GMail takes care of this, by separating these in different tabs, so that it does not distract you from the important actionable email.
Read the FastCo article here about the new tabbed GMail
(pic courtesy – the same fastco article).