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?