Yesterday I was sent an invitation to join a conference call for "training" on a news distribution service along with a client. Given I'm attending ClueCon and that I need to get ready to be at the conference (i.e. shave, shower, dress, reply to morning emails, crank out The Comunicano newsletter, etc.) all before the "training" call would end, I politely replied with a decline, and also pointed out that my for my west coast client, the 730 AM start time would be a bit too early.
Of course, I'm not in the senders address book, so this morning I was sent a "are you joining." It didn't matter that the calendar item that had been sent didn't have a reply from me, my reply was missed as it likely went into the recipient's spam or junk mail folder. This malady of filtering, or in reality, the lack of it, when the filter is based upon your address book vs. more reliable methods, led to this.
Fortunately, a few years ago I discovered a wonderful service that works perfectly with GMail. It's called SaneBox, and it really does what its name implies. It delivers sanity in a digital world full of spammers, unknown people from real businesses and even less, but not unimportant items like hotel reservations. If you're going to say Google's priority inbox does this already, you're hand grenade close, but SaneBox is rifle shot accurate, as their filtering and SaneLater approach moves the less important emails into a secondary inbox (really it tags them) and more.
Sanebox works by looking at who you send mail to, and based on the frequency, assigns a ranking, and that ranking determines which folder the inbound message goes into. In all the years I've been using SaneBox, I've watched it improve, and get smarter. Rarely, and I mean, very, very rarely, does it put someone's email in the SaneLater folder who I really know, and it's even more rare to find something in SPAM inside GMail.
While email remains a broken model, at least there's SaneBox to help patch it up, and be the traffic cop of the inbox.
Authors note: I'm a paid subscriber to SaneBox and was not solicited to write this.