Gmail offers desktop notification feature

While many people find the constant nagging of e-mails, text messages and chats overbearing at times, there’s no denying that if you’re a journalist, being reachable is crucial.

Whether it’s your boss, a source, or an editor that is trying to reach you, being timely with your responses will ultimately count for more in the long run than you initially can imagine. Today, people send e-mails and chat messages in offices just to say “Hey, did you get the file I sent you?” so being on top of your communications can be critical to functioning in this fast-paced environment.

While notifications of some sort are probably ingrained in our lives in one way or another, Mashable just brought the new Gmail Desktop Notification feature to my attention this week. If you’re using Gmail for work, having instant notification of people trying to reach you could be the difference between getting a story and missing it, sealing a deal and losing it or simply being there when someone is trying to get answer from you. Many people are using Gmail for both personal and professional purposes now, so I think the new notification feature is something of which more people should be aware.

The Gmail notifications let you know when you have a new email or chat message by displaying a pop-up when new messages arrive without you having to be constant logged in to your Gmail account. For the time being, these notifications only work if you’re using Google Chrome (which I highly recommend!), but they are working on getting it in other browsers too.

Set up is quite simple; just make sure that when enabling the feature, you allow mail.google.com to show desktop notifications:

  1. Go to Settings in the upper-right corner of Gmail.
  2. In “General”, select the Desktop Notification setting you prefer. Note: You can enable or disable this, as you like, for instance if you are going away, or just want a non-interrupted hour.
  3. Save your settings.

Bottom line: be accessible. If someone wants to get a response from you or simply to bring something to your attention, you should be open to the option of having that little reminder. Unfortunately, if you’re not willing to be accessible on a nearly-24-hour basis (in my experience, most journalism jobs expect that), then there is someone else who will be.

With jobs being as scarce as they are, you don’t need one more reason to potentially lose a job opportunity to someone who is willing to deal with a email notification. Of course, being notified is only the first step — how and when you decide to handle that information is a different story.

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