Older generations will remember when it was a joy to receive an email. Millennials in particular since they grew up during the rise of the digital era.

It was a time for dial-up modems and tying up the phone line just to have a chance to get online. Sometimes, depending on the time of way, it was tough to be able to get on.

But after all that modem noise you had to hear with the computer, you finally heard those wonderful words, "Welcome!" And if you were lucky enough, you'd also hear "You got mail" right afterward.

And back then, getting an email was exciting. More of a novelty in the 1990s than anything else. But as we rolled past the huge crash of Y2K (remember that dud?), emails quickly became a way of life.

AOL mail
AOL mail (Dan Alexander,Townsquare Media NJ)

Of course, we're more than two decades removed from those days, and emails now consume our lives in ways we wish they never had. Essentially, most of our emails are now the digital form of junk mail.

And we get so much of it, too. So much, in fact, that a recent survey from Babbel that was reported by both the New York Post and the India Times, states the average number of unread emails in our phones is in the thousands.

That's not an exaggeration, either. In fact, over the past few months, I've been asking work colleagues, family, friends, and others about how many unread emails they have.


For most of them, the number was anywhere between 500 to 1,000. A bit lower than what this poll concluded, but still fairly high numbers. One person I spoke to, however, blew all of the others out of the water.

In that case, the unread email count on the phone exceeded 10,000. How is that even possible? 10,000 unread emails simply sounds crazy.

But, it all boils down to one common thread. We all get tons of junk and scam emails on a daily basis, work and personal included. So much so that I decided to experiment with my own emails and decided to let them build up for one week.


By the end of the week, I ended up with 526 unread emails just by ignoring the ones I deemed as junk. Based on that, I can easily see how this happens with so many others (and please feel free to share how many unread emails you currently have in the comments... it'll be interesting to see if we're all in the same email boat here).

Now with that said, there is a divide when it comes to unread emails and our younger generations. In particular, Gen Z.

In simplest terms, Gen Z has a hard time knowing how to manage their emails, especially at work. In fact, communicating in a professional setting via email stresses them out which causes email anxiety. That in turn, prevents them from opening emails in the first place.

email inbox

It's interesting findings but one that holds true for every generation that has an email address. The amount of junk and spam email we receive is through the roof. But outside of that, our work emails also pile up.

The one key difference, however, is how having thousands of unread emails affects different generations. What might not bother older generations sure has an opposite effect on those that are younger (read more about the findings reported by The New York Post here, and the India Times here).

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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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