Sorting Your Email Inbox: Inbox vs. Subject vs. People Mode

Spike Team
By Spike Team, Updated on December 08, 2021, 7 min read
Inbox sorting

Do you sometimes find yourself confused? Have you drifted off because you find it hard to follow what’s being said? Does conversation pass you by, negatively affecting your professional and personal life?


Maybe you’re… losing the thread!


In all seriousness though, there’s some threads that you do probably want to lose entirely!  Email threads! They can become very confusing, very quickly, and when you throw in headers, signatures, and attachments, there’s a whole load of distractions that keep you from being able to focus on what’s important—the actual messages.


Threads are traditionally organized into “boxes” such as your Inbox, sent, trash, or archived folder which are based, as some of you may remember, on the physical Inbox/outbox trays that once adorned office desks around the world. However, like the metal trays before them, these digital boxes have become a little outdated, and the endless threads that clutter them up are full of useless information that detract from your email experience. 


Don’t worry though, Spike is here to revolutionize your Inbox and ditch the conventional threads in favor of a more natural way to talk. It’s Conversational Email and it’s cleaning up Inboxes everywhere. Read on and discover why the thread is dead and how your Inbox is reimagined for the 21st-century. 



Terminology can get confusing, so just to clear things up: 


  • A message is an individual email. It has a header, a body, a subject line, sometimes a signature and an attachment. This is what you would see if you click on a traditional email. 

  • A thread is a collection of messages that trace the history of a conversation with your contacts. However, there are other types of threads, and ways to sort threads, and that’s where Spike really shines. 

  • The Feed in Spike is where you can see an overview of all of your messages, to dos, tasks, and notes. Instead of switching applications to see tasks, you see them from your Inbox. 


With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the different Conversation Modes that you can toggle between when sorting your Inbox in Spike: People Mode, Subject Mode, and Inbox Mode.


People Mode – Inbox Sorting by Contact

Inbox sorting


People say that email is old. People say that email is outdated… they’re just doing it wrong! 


Today, most of the most popular chat tools and social media platforms sort messages by who you’re talking to as opposed to what you’re talking about. Unlike email which has traditionally relied on the thread, usually defined by your subject line, these tools give you a direct line to the individual you want to talk to. 


This, of course, makes total sense when you think about how we communicate on a daily basis—imagine hanging out with friends and selecting who you talk to based on a topic instead of, well, by person. That’s a sure-fire way to not get invited the next time your friends go out for drinks…


Spike brings email into the 21st-century by allowing you to sort your Inbox in the same way that you would communicate naturally—creating a dedicated space for each contact you’re corresponding with. So, whether it’s a client, a member of your team, a customer or your grandma, you can tap the contact and talk with them just like instant messaging. No more boring subject lines, ugly signatures, and useless headers. No more searching through seven different email threads to double check that looming deadline. Just tap, chat, and stay in your flow!


What’s more, with Spike, by selecting a contact, you can see all of your past communication with them. This includes files, attachments, images and more that have been sent between the two of you, as well as any group chats that you have with them. It’s instant, accessible, and intuitive—everything you need from your main communications tool! 


Subject Mode – Inbox Sorting by Subject

Inbox sorting


Subject lines give you a brief, informative and clear snapshot of what an email is all about. It’s a way for you to quickly sort the focus on any given project or task. So, why aren’t you sorting your Inbox in the same way? With this setting, Spike divides each new subject line into a new thread, enabling you to quickly and easily track topics inside your Inbox.


This means that instead of messages being divided between what you have sent and received (as it would be with a traditional email client), messages are divided based on the subject you have given to that conversation (or the subject your contact has given). By sorting your Inbox by subject, topics will be focussed in one place, and there won’t be a need to jump between threads to see what is relevant.


Inbox Mode – a Traditional Sorting

Inbox sorting


There’s really nothing wrong with being a traditionalist—even though Spike has plenty of more forward-thinking options available. Some people just like to keep their emails the way they’ve gotten used to, and that’s fine by us. 


Spike’s Inbox Mode gives you a simple structure that sorts your emails in the classic Inbox style, putting threads into “Inbox” and “Sent”. But don’t worry, even if you like your emails old-school, you still have access to all the new-school tools that Spike integrates right into your email, such as Calendar, one-click RSVPs, Notes and more. 


Additionally, once you click into each email, you will still be able to view it in the clean and clear chat-style layout that makes Spike so simple and intuitive.


For those coming straight from a more traditional email client, this might seem like the safest option. However, once you get into the flow of Spike Groups, Conversational Email and the super-clean way it all integrates together, you’ll be switching up your Modes and sorting your Inbox in different ways in no time at all.


Your Feed — Updates and Notifications in One Place

Whichever way you choose to sort your Inbox, Spike is more than a single way to bring all your messages (and much more) together in a single place. Your feed is where it all happens, and here you’ll find all your chats, To Dos, Tasks, and Notes organized by your preference. 


Your feed takes all of Spike’s functionality and brings it into a single place to see, from a high level, what needs your attention. Instead of checking your email, chats, document revisions, and tasks in separate apps, Spike shows you a single feed of everything that needs your attention.


Updates and notifications for all of your communications and collaborative work are clearly visible, so whether you’re the Inbox zero type who archives everything, or you’re a little more blasé about Inbox management, it’s always clear what you need to be working on. 


But Wait, There’s More

You should think of these three Conversation Modes as the foundations of your Inbox organization, with all the other Spike features acting as your building blocks. You can customize your Spike to suit your needs by using tags, pins, starring, and more. 


Tags allow you to use custom words or phrases to sort individual emails in your Inbox. You can then search for them quickly and easily using Spike’s Super Search, and have all relevant messages right in front of you.


Pinning a message means that it stays at the top of your Inbox, so those long-running conversations don’t fall through the cracks. Another way to keep a message on the back burner is simply by Snoozing it, taking the email out of your workflow for the present, but ensuring that it pops right back up to the top exactly when you need it.


What’s more, Spike is able to sort your email Inbox even further by intelligently dividing messages between a Priority and Other Inbox. Priority keeps your most important messages front and center so you can focus on what matters most. Everything else (that means things like newsletters, promotional offers, and social media notifications) is pushed into the Other Inbox, which can be referred to when you have more time. Or, if you don’t want to go through these messages one at a time, Spike also offers a range of Bulk Actions, so you can trash, archive, or mark as read/unread numerous messages with a single tap, click or swipe!


Conversational Email brings together all your messages into an intuitive chat-like view, however, if you want to expand any message into a more “traditional” email, you can simply click it within the chat to open it in full. This chat style can be even more powerful when used for Groups, since all messages are collected within the same thread as if it were a real conversation.


Each of these three options – Inbox Mode, Subject Mode, and Person Mode – offers benefits, and each user will find what works best for them. With customization at Spike’s core, you can pick and choose your options to make your email work for you, and switch between these different modes without even breaking your flow.


For more productivity tips, techniques and methods, head over to the Spike blog. And let us know how you use Spike’s powerful organizational tools to keep your work on track, your team on the same page, and your conversation flowing by dropping us a message @SpikeNowHQ.

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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