Rant: Email is…uh…Email is a “B-Word!”

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I just figured out another reason why I dislike receiving email marketing and cookie-cutter newsletters that are nothing more than aggregated third-party material.

In the days prior to the internet and email.. excuse me, what?… yes, I was around then! Anyway, in the days prior to the internet and email, I would get what is now called, somewhat disdainfully, snail mail or a fax.

For those of you born in the latest generation, a fax machine is an incredibly brilliant machine that moves the data through the mysterious universes – kind of cool, no? It takes a letter from one person, who puts it into a machine that spins it around the world into a machine at the other end where the recipient picks it up and reads it! What a concept!

Anyway, all this stuff could and would sit in a very neat pile on my very neat desk until I could get to it. Some of it was actually very attractively designed and quite interesting.

During those golden days of advertising and PR, I could very quickly take those letters, postcards or brochures and make a pile for “action items” or “hold for later,” or even better, “toss!”

On the shopping (as in mall) side of my life, I would get in my car or go for a walk and window shop or run errands, enjoying the fresh air and social aspects of a wonderland of businesses (now called quite unattractively, “brick and mortar”) competing for my attention with visually stunning displays; things that smelled good, or tasted good, or sounded amazing. I could wander through the maze all while crossing off items on my must see/buy/do list. And my parking was free for three hours! (More if I took in a movie with popcorn and a coke.)

It was fun and could be scheduled at my convenience before or after work hours. Weekends were especially pleasant, as I could amble with girlfriends, boyfriend, or family and make a day of it, trying out new experiences, removing my brain from work and expanding my horizons.

But, I interrupt this reverie to bring myself back to the present. Thud! I am at my desk surrounded by computer equipment and radio waves; laptops, towers, hard drives, thumb drives, and more hard drives, cell phones and internet phones. My email in-box has replaced the US Post Office as a means of delivery of sales pitches, communiques and the occasional love letter. This is supposed to be easier and fun, this “paperless” world we now live in, fun?

But it is not fun. This email witch is a demanding, uh…demanding…uh, well, I don’t want to curse here so we’ll leave it at demanding B-word. She wants attention 24/7 and if I don’t attend to her needs , she screams at me with 1,000’s of communiques marked with the dreaded, bolded UNREAD highlight. She is like a nagging spoiled brat who doesn’t stop asking for something until she gets it…Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom. Mom….and then, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom!!!!!

I can’t possibly even come close to reading all these missives, but I have to because in the middle of all the junk there might really be something important. So I am trapped for hours each day in email hell.

I can’t just throw everything into the archives, because the search function does not always allow me to find what I need.

I am a slave to 1’s and 0’s and publicists who don’t discriminate when they send out releases. It is just easier to send out to the whole list rather than think carefully about who is most appropriate. I especially love it when I get a pitch from someone who says, “please publish this in your paper.” I produce a radio show! And I write for internet publications. I would ask what they are thinking, but they are not thinking, they are just throwing the spaghetti on the wall and waiting for something to stick.

Well, I’m not one strand in a huge 2-pound box of spaghetti. I am unique. Don’t box me in. I’m your gourmet kind of gal. A true confection to be handled delicately and only once in a while and then, only when most appropriate. Savor the relationship. Treat it with tact, dignity and be delicate with it, and you will reap great rewords.

OK, there, I’ve said it. Now I’m going to get into the car and visit my local mall before it goes out of business.

Bye for now and until next time, my advice to you is to get out there and enjoy life.

Have a conversation with someone wonderful!