TweetDeck shows me how I want to filter my e-mail!

Like most folks these days, I get crap-tons of e-mail. While I have fantasies of becoming an Inbox Zero ninja, the reality is that I need to triage stuff at times, and I still miss important e-mails way too often. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

An option that would be a huge help, however, has flown in from the distance lands of Twitter-dom, where message overload is again a huge challenge. I’m totally enamored of TweetDeck, which allows me to easily organize my messages into groups based on their sender/source. While it seems a simple idea, the way it’s implemented in TweetDeck is really nice, and a similar idea would be really cool for e-mail.

I realize that I can do what is essentially the same thing with filters in Thunderbird (my standard e-mail client) or most other reasonable mail clients, but TweetDeck recognizes that my interest in messages is strongly correlated to who sent them and makes it exceptionally easy to organize and filter around that concept. In particular I can take any message and in just a few clicks add the sender to one or more groups in a process that’s far simpler than organizing filters in Thunderbird.

It would be wonderful, for example, to have a group for students in my current classes, and be able to just pop someone into that group with a click or two. I just don’t see myself managing a filter like that in Thunderbird, but I do it easily in TweetDeck.

So, sure, it would be better if I was just all over the Inbox Zero thing. TweetDeck style organization would be a brill filtering tool in the meantime, or when things get crazy. Does anyone know of a Mac e-mail client that does this sort of thing this well? I suspect one could write a Thunderbird add-on that would do this, but I’ve never written a Mozilla plugin and have no idea how easy or hard it would be.

Thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

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