The Accidental Email Thread

The end of the dinner was approaching. I felt it. In anxiety, I checked my phone, pulling down the notifications to look at unread emails. I stiffened, hoping that there were no emails from my team about the big client presentation. I didn’t want to deal with anything more until the morning. I told myself that I had to remove the work email from my phone for my sanity.

But then I saw it. Starting slightly after 8 pm, an email went out with an innocent question:

I’m not sure who to email about this. Typically the direct deposits I get match the amount listed under “earned” in my earnings reports exactly, but this month it did not. Under earned it said $4,055.68 but my direct deposit was for $3,905.68. Any idea why the difference? I have a feeling it has to do with Target reimbursement but wasn’t sure.

I didn’t know who this person was. And wondered if it was yet another annoying email sent to the wrong person, like people with my first name and last name. And the to field read publishers@federatedpublishers.com What’s interesting is that nearly everyone replied had some unique signature, advertising blogs. Primarily food blogs. I realized that in my attempt to spread my blog a few years ago, I must have subscribed my email to the grand lists.

Subsequently, other emails followed. Some were about not knowing the answer to the question, that they didn’t know why they got the email. Then someone concluded that the the OP must have emailed a mass email d-list, that hey everybody calm down and stop replying to the email. But the emails continued to pour in until even the famous Guy Kawaski chimed in and lectured everyone about how they’re making it worse. Then it became a bit of self-promotion and gratitude for finding each other (so very much like a blogging community). Then came more angry “UNSUBSCRIBE” and “STOP REPLYING”.

And the email that some people followed so unwittingly:

“By all means, everyone keep replying.”

Then suddenly about 90 minutes later, emails stopped.

A blogger documented the drama that ensued through social media. The way that suddenly all these self-aware tech-centric people bonded as if we had been stuck on a subway car for some time. Thank you for existing, I would say. But in a few days, I’ll be on my merry way.

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