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Mail – Exclamation Points Next To Sender’s Name

I received an e-mail from an old friend that I haven’t heard from in a very long time. I noticed in Mail in the list of e-mails on the left that there are two exclamation points next to his name. This doesn’t show up in the body or the header of the e-mail, just next to his name in the list to the left.
I don’t see any issues with the message. I’m wondering if this is a feature of Mail, to point out that this is a contact that I haven’t heard from in a while.
Tom Abbott

Comments: One Response to “Mail – Exclamation Points Next To Sender’s Name”

    12 years ago

    That's a priority indicator. When sending an email, most email programs allow you to assign a priority to the email. It is nothing more than an extra bit of information that comes with each email, like the "subject" text.
    So your old friend must have chosen to set the priority of that email to "high" or "urgent" -- the exact name depends on the email program he is using and what they decided to call the highest priority.
    Back in the 90s when email first gained popularity, people used this a lot ("Important meeting," "Finals next week," "You're fired."). But then it became overused ("Party Tonight," "I Miss You," "Here's a Funny Joke."). So I noticed that email programs made this a little harder to find. Spammers also liked to use it a lot.
    It was like the fables "the boy who cried wolf" or "chicken little." People used mail priority so much, that everyone started to ignore it.
    In Mac Mail, you can set the priority while composing an email by going to Message, Mark, As High Priority. You can also customize the composition toolbar to add a Priority control (click on the customize button to the left of "from" while composing an email).

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