Saturday, May 5
A while ago, I griped about how I don’t get much e-mail from humans I know, and how e-mail as a medium has become sort of a mechanical ghost town, full of machine-generated notices from this or that web application or service provider.
This is a parallel gripe about the way that various organizations have decided to treat mail as a channel for publication, and a plea to everyone involved in marketing, public relations, and (most especially) political or charity efforts.
For better or worse, I still use GMail. GMail’s spam filter is pretty good, in terms of classical spam - the completely unsolicited botnet spew that everyone can agree is useless noise. For the most part, I only see mail that is to some extent “legitimate”. That is, the entities sending it may not exactly have my permission, but in some limited way they have a concept of who I am and after some thought I can usually figure out why they have my address.
Since May 1, I’ve deleted about 40 messages from my inbox. Five of them are automatic notices of the kind that I actually want to receive (and usually use a label to dump into some filter, like “nagios” or “twitter”). The remainder of the pile is composed of entirely of bullshit which I never even considered reading, sent me by:
- x-random business I once interacted with
- x-random activist/charity/political organization I once showed some form of support
Even more of these messages are filtered off to labels like “airline spam”, “do gooder spam”, “obama”, or “KUVO”. (For the record, the President of the United States sends me more crap than the local jazz station, but not by much.)
I would really like for everyone to stop doing this.
I don’t want your newsletter. I don’t want your deal of the day. I don’t want your short-notice fare sale. I don’t want your endlessly-repeating call to action, your update on the plight of x, or a good price on a t-shirt that says Amnesty International on it.
What I want is this:
I want to be able to think.
You are not helping. Knock it off.