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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!

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