Email is Public

An email can be from your business partner of a decade, a stranger who likes something you’ve said and wants to tell you, a troll from across the globe who wants to angrily finger waggle at you, or the computer system at the pharmacy letting your know your prescriptions are ready.

Most folks will give their email address to just about anybody, or make it entirely public. It’s often the only communication method they do that with. On the current version of my personal website, I put it in plain text right in the footer:

Email address in footer at chriscoyier.net

Your inbox is a wilderness in the way your incoming phone calls likely are not.

Phone calls are much more sacred. Most folks don’t publicly post their personal phone number. They don’t want phone calls from people they don’t know. I sure as heck don’t. They don’t want texts at all hours of the day. That’s what email is for, thank you very much.

They rarely post their address either. Perhaps a P.O. box or business address, but not a personal addresses. Personal letters are wonderful, but not from strangers posted to the address I sleep at. That feels quite literally dangerous.

Even publishing your Facebook profile is more and more rare. Again a business account, sure, but not my personal account. That’s already full of garbage without strangers engaging with me there.

Email, though. People will share their email address publicly. Strangers can email you and, while it’s not always awesome, it doesn’t feel nearly as scary or unwelcome. Email is much easier to manage.

Once in a while I run across someone who I’m trying to contact who’s clearly intentionally made it impossible to find their email address. You can always tell, as we all secretly thing we’re amazing internet sleuths and can’t be easily foiled in a simple game of hunt for the email. In the end, we think no problem, this person clearly doesn’t like email and does not want to be contacted for any reason. Then we check to see if they have open DMs on Twitter just in case.

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