Email for everything ?

作者:   發佈於:   #email #ideas

Owning an IMAP-capable email account can be very convenient since that be used as a centralized storage for information around us. After all, the easiest way to synchronize information across multiple devices is by sending emails to ourselves.

Since we already setup our emails on multiple devices, there are no more accounts to sign-up, no more passwords to be managed.

Several purposes can be easily satisfied by briefly re-purposing emails in various ways.

Note-taking -- quick notes taken on-the-road with mobile devices can be saved as drafts -- usually in folder named like "Drafts". The saved draft can be edited in a full-fledged UI. Since those are draft mails they can just be re-saved over and over. Basically just like normal files.

TODO list -- by conventionally adding TODO in Subject line, we can make a personal TODO lists. Each TODO item would be one mail, with subject line being the gist and body being details. Marking things DONE is just replying the mail with modified title.

A "Read it Latter" queue -- similar how TODO lists can be implemented. For each reading we wish to postpone, we mail to ourselves with the link and perhaps with a gist of what it is about.

Perhaps with some extra tooling, we can easily send a full copy of the whole web page so we have the whole thing ready to be consumed when we are ready. For the moment it seems on macOS, this can be easily done with Safari + Mail -- we can "Share" the page under "Reader" mode and Safari will just clip the content out. Very nice.

These can be all be implement with one IMAP-capable email account. We would probably have different folders for different type of usages. In addition, we could also use different alias or +-suffixes to further distinguish different contexts too.

These ideas are about exchanging ideas from our present selves with our future selves. We write something and let future us to read, follow-up, react.

If we self-host IMAP servers and configure it to share certain folders to multiple users. Besides emailing to each other, users can discover new information by browsing those shared folders. Should user be able to directly post new messages to those folders, that is a basic BBS. In a sense this setup is conceptually the same having a single NNTP server for that group of user.

If each users can own one dedicated folder that is specially configured so that new posts can be made only by its owner, while replies can be posted by everyone -- that is a multi-blog service, or a SNS.

Suppose such IMAP-based SNS exists... since users are required to use email client to access the SNS and since advanced email client all have search/filtering feature, users can fine-tune the so called "algorithm" at the client side to boost posts however they like.

Since this requires users to do a whole lot more to fine tune "the algorithm" on the client side, it also means to give users more freedom and less there can be less chance of having some centralized recommendation system in between content and eyeballs.

Wouldn't that be nice ?

Kang-min Liu