Something that I don’t quite understand is when two people use a shared email address for both of their email communications. Most often I see a husband and wife who have an account together. I know that several of our family members use such shared accounts, so I’m certainly not trying to pick on anyone. I’m more curious than anything. Why, when it’s so easy and free to sign up for an individual email account, do some people prefer to share one? I can think of some pros and cons to sharing an email account:
- Ensures that email messages sent to one person are always read by the other (avoids forgetting to tell your spouse about an email you received).
- Provides a single point of contact for friends and family members wishing to get a hold of the entire family.
- Only one place to look to find email messages sent to your family.
- May provide some measure of accountability by not allowing spouse/family members to receive unauthorized/secret email (though they could always secretly sign up for a separate account if they wanted to).
- Lack of privacy/secrecy for reading email messages. What if you want to plan a surprise party, via email, for one spouse without the other one knowing? Or purchase a gift for the other person and receive the receipt in secret?
- Confusion as to the intended recipient, both incoming and outgoing. If I’m reading your email, and you forgot to sign your name, how do I know who it’s coming from? And if you’re reading an email I sent to you, but I forgot to address it to someone, how do you know who it’s for? Contextual clues might help at times, but not always.
- Clutter in the inbox. Takes extra time to sort through messages. May result in many messages being unnecessarily read twice.
I’d be interested to hear from anyone who does use a shared email account. Why do you do it, and how do you manage things?
As an aside, Rebecca and I do have separate email addresses, but we also have a separate third address that other people can use if they want to email both of us. However, it’s not a separate account that we both check; rather, it is an email forwarding alias, so it simply sends a copy of the message to each of our individual accounts.