Friendly Spammers

You know someone’s not your friend when you mark incoming mail from them as spam without thinking about it, and have to use the undo link in Google. It’s a sad moment. You kind of find yourself wishing that instead of ignoring the flakey updates, you could just kind of opt out of tier 1 (every freaking update) and move yourself to tier 2 and get just the really big news.

When I reached South Korea, I began doing what a lot of people do: I started sending mass email updates which were probably quite annoying after the first few, because after all, nobody really found my life as interesting as I did at that time. After a while, I clued into this and started myself a blog, and the blog became eclexys, and here we are, several years and many hours later.

The thing is, I’m starting to think that it’s time again to start an email list. This time, not a BCC-style list, where users get updates from me without the freedom to opt out, but rather, a real proper mailing list, with an opt-in and opt-out option, with just announcements of what’s going on with me, and maybe links to the pertinent post on my site.

I’m thinking this because there are friends I have who have, either because of lack of interest or because they’re just not caught-up enough to be with-it in terms of RSS or even have become Internet-avoiding recluses. (Which means people who read their email, though at a significant lag, but don’t read peoples’ webpages anymore, or gave up on doing that very early on).

A large number of my friends — people I consider friends, anyway, but who are far away and busy with other things and are somewhat out of touch with me, and I with them — don’t really know what’s going on in my life these days. If I have news I’d like to share with them, I have to create a mass email, or else write them individually.

Sometimes I’m great at responding to emails, but sometimes I suck at it. I have a long queue of emails from when my father passed away that I’ve been meaning (for a little over a year) to respond to. It’s been a busy year, but yeah, I also suck.

Anyway, the important thing, I am thinking, is the opt-out option. Friends need to be able to opt out. So I’m thinking about it this way: anyone who wants to opt in will take the trouble to figure out RSS, or will drop by my page occasionally. Anyone who doesn’t read this site is, in practical terms, opting out of a very constant update on what’s new in my life, my mind, my reading, and so on. And that’s cool.

But I think it’s time to create a tier 2, for people who I think will want to be kept in touch in a more coarse-grained, brief-announcements kind of way. So maybe next week, I’ll get a mailing list going. Or maybe I’ll respond to those condolence letters first, and then think about the mailing list. Hmm.

In any case, I have some stuff to do for classes tomorrow, so off I go!

5 thoughts on “Friendly Spammers

  1. While you may already have another option in mind, you may want to look into using Feedburner. They offer e-mail subscriptions (this would only work if you’re intending to update people through your blog).

    I’ve used it in a couple of places, and I’ve been pleased with how it works.

  2. Kangmi,

    That would be good for people who would want to opt in on the blog, but aren’t tech-savvy enough. However, I find that there are friends of mine who would probably like to just get the big updates, but not even hear about the smaller stuff unless I’m emailing them personally.

    I think I’ll probably go with an announcement email-list on my own site for this purpose. Though I might add a link to subscribe by email. My own dislike of email subscriptions to blogs shouldn’t prevent others from using the service if they like.

    (Or, should it? I find email subscription to clutter my email and honestly would prefer if the notion died. So maybe I shouldn’t offer the service at all.)

    In other news, go check your email!

  3. I don’t like e-mail subscriptions to blogs either, but inexplicably other people do. Feeds are way more efficient, but try telling that to my father (as an example).

    I’ll be interested to see what you end up with.

  4. This is the sort of thing Hector Yee was doing for awhile. I haven’t gotten anything from him for some time, but it was a nice way of knowing what he was up to for a few years there….

    Please don’t tell me I can get blog entries e-mailed to me, that’s the last thing I need, but one of the first things I’d want! :)

  5. Kangmi,

    I’ll let you know when I figure it out. I’ll probably post about it, in fact!


    Same Hector here, right? I never really knew him.

    You’d like blog entries mailed to you? It might be doable, but… isn’t RSS just more efficient? I find I get enough emails that aren’t really emails as it is!

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