Gmail Disposed To Deal With Bacn

    September 7, 2007

“Bacon” – a crispy, fatty food – is a wonderful thing.  “Bacn” – a sort of, but not quite, spammy message – is less of a joy-bringer.  And although they can’t do much about edible objects, the Gmail Team has now addressed that second spelling variation.

Team member Kevin Systrom (or “Kevn Systrm,” as he writes it this time around) begins by quoting Wikipedia.  “Bacn (pronounced bacon) is the term given to electronic messages which have been subscribed to and are therefore not unsolicited but are often unread by the recipient for a long period of time,” states everyone’s not-really-authoritative online encyclopedia.

Emails alerting you of messages from Tom on MySpace fall under this category (so do emails regarding messages from your real friends, for that matter).  Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twittr are guilty of the same poor taste, figuratively speaking, and entire forums have been set up to address the issue.

So, what to do . . .  Systrom suggests, “Create labels for each service that sends your bacn by clicking ‘Edit labels’ in the green box on the lefthand side of your inbox.”  Then, “Create filters to put bacn in its place by clicking ‘Create a Filter’ next to the search buttons at the top of your inbox. . . .  I typed ‘LinkedIn’ in the ‘from’ box . . .”

Systrom continues, “If you’re like me, you probably want to review the notifications at a later time, so you click ‘Skip the Inbox’ and ‘Apply the label: LinkedIn’.  This keeps all your notifications in one place, accessible by clicking the ‘LinkedIn’ label on the left hand side of your inbox.”

Lastly, “Since at some point I may want to review all my bacn at once, I created another label called ‘Review Later’ into which all my bacn goes.  Then, I use one of Gmail’s advanced search operators (‘OR’) to create a filter that matches any bacn . . . .  Now I can easily view my LinkedIn notifications all at once OR I can view all my bacn together by clicking the ‘Review Later’ label.”

There you go, then.  You’ve eliminated, or at least managed, your bacn.  Those of you who read this on an empty stomach have probably also decided to add at least one item to your grocery-shopping list.