Community out reach – lurkers

I got a spam-ish email today from a web site I signed into once years ago, A standard product management kind of thing, an attempt to entice me to come back.  I get such things all the time from my assorted dormant credit cards.  Thinking about it I’m surprised I don’t get more email like this.  My password wallet has hundreds of accounts in it.    They don’t even send me a Christmas card!  But then I don’t send them one either.  My parent’s generation had a suite of social norms about how to maintain long lived low intensity relationships.  Christmas cards played a big role in that.

If I scroll down through the list of things in my password wallet it’s quite nostoglic.  There dozens of mailing lists and web forums which I have warm memories.  For example I used to lurk on the tornado chasing list server back in the late 1980s – good times!  I particularly remember a long thread about some product they would all buy and spread over their wind sheilds; apparently once applied you didn’t need to turn on your wipers.  They all swore by it.  Rain-X I think it was called.

The impressive thing about this spam I got this morning was it worked.  They successfully reminded me of why I enjoyed hanging out at that site and drew me back for a visit.  This was the key: what do you call that thing where an egg is cooked in a hole in a slice of bread?

Lots of organizations have huge peripheral networks of related parties.  Alumni networks for example.  Community networks.  Product owners. etc. etc.    When I think about the kind of communications I get from various groups targeted to me as a member of this or that peripheral network it’s just sad.  They are so heavy handed, over done, and often kind of needy.    As the example above illustrates that doesn’t need to be the case.

So, something to think about.  Why do community organizers do such a lousy job of this kind of sustaining of the long term low key relationships.  Why do we all do such a lousy job of it.  Shouldn’t this internet thing should make it a lot easier?

4 thoughts on “Community out reach – lurkers

  1. Shane Curcuru

    Rain-X it is. Depending on your car’s glass type, and depending on your wipers, it can be a true miracle coating, or it can be vaguely annoying. I find it much more useful on side/rear windows, where it lasts a lot longer than on the windshield.

    The other miracle trick to clean windshields is Bon Ami. Clean your windshield normally, then carefully, following directions, wipe it down with Bon Ami and rub off. Ta-da, an *actually* clean windshield. It’s neat to do one specific patch of your car windows with Bon Ami, and then have someone run their hands (eyes closed!) over the window. You can really feel the difference between clean window and mirror smoooooth window.

    In terms of the intellectual parts of your post, I can’t help thinking of ProjectVRM, which seems to be… still vaguely around. I have to express disappointment that they don’t yet have a “Download” button. C’mon, Doc, we have virtual no-name internet startups who have great ideas AND code available within a couple of months – where’s your code?

  2. Ben Hyde

    This seems to be the best forum postings about the idea of using bon-ami to clean glass.
    http://www.unofficialbmw.com/all/carcare/all_use_bon_ami_on_windshield.html

    I also found a posting that mentions that felspar (the secret ingredient) is harder than glass.

    I also found a posting which reports that the rain-x company recomends one variant (availible at the hardware store) of bon-ami for removing rain-x, but if you use the one that’s easily available at the grocery store they advise being sure to have a good lather.

  3. Marc Donner

    I wonder if there is such a thing as a low-key relationship. Either the relationship is sort of dead, in which case the communication is off point and offputting. Or the relationship is alive in some sense, in which case the communication is relevant and engaging and doesn’t feel heavy or domineering.

    Of course, I may just have stated a tautology, I don’t know. My wife notes that I have all of these intermittent but intense relationships with people I don’t see for years on end and then spend hours with in intense conversation. She finds that odd and somehow incredible … she talks to her list of friends practically on a daily basis.

  4. bhyde Post author

    People do like to draw a line in the statistical sand r. relationships. I’m convinced that’s a mistake; the light relationships are your farm team. It’s kind of tidy to toss the dormant relationships into dead; but I’m not a tidy guy.

    Of course in the posting I’m musing about commercial/community relationships.

    That said, I think differing individuals and groups settle into very different conventions about the statistics of these things.

    One of the things I think is fascinating about Facebook et. al. is that they aid the management of this.

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