I am the girl who cried wolf. Unlike the shepherd boy in Aesop’s fable, I am not repeatedly tricking people into thinking a wolf is attacking my flock of sheep. I don’t own any sheep, but I do have an email account. And my auto-reply, which is set to be on permanently, says that I only check email messages a few times per week. But I read and respond to emails multiple times per day—oftentimes continuously.
Similar to the villagers in the fable who eventually ignored the shepherd boy’s call for help even when a wolf really was attacking his flock, people who regularly send me emails no longer pay attention to my automatic response. They view it as a something to disregard and delete—and rightly so. Sometimes, I reply to their emails so quickly that my actual response arrives before the auto-message!