I don't know why I didn't do this a lot sooner -- clicking on "unsubscribe" rather than merely deleting the massive amount of emails that regularly build up in my inbox from Democratic political causes, environmental groups, online businesses I bought something from way back when, and so many other entities I don't care about.
OK, that isn't quite what I mean.
I care about many of the groups who email me incessantly. I just don't want their pleadings to appear in Apple Mail anymore. Like I said, it's hard for me to understand why it took me so long to do the "unsubscribe" thing. For many years I've been letting the emails flow in like the tide, then disappear with a click of my MacBook Pro's trackpad.
Until fresh messages would roll in a few days later, when I'd delete them again.
Psychologically, I believe my problem was misplaced affection. I'd see the name of a group -- ACLU, 350.org, Sierra Club, etc. etc. -- and think, "These are friends of mine. I support what they're doing. Someday I might want to read what they're sending me. Not now, but maybe someday."
Except, that someday rarely, if ever came. So today I began the process of unsubscribing from each and every email list that sent me messages I didn't really want to read.
My most satisfying unsubscribe was the DSCC, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Some days, like April 30, I'd get as many as eight freaking messages from the DSCC. Combining the subject headings would create a kind of Irritating Political Fundraising Poem.
For example, starting with the first 7:31 am DSCC message on April 30, and ending with the eighth 8:13 pm message...
I need your help, Brian
big update: [time sensitive]
Tomorrow will be too late!
I'm asking personally, Brian
numbers you NEED to see [GRAPHIC]
this is our last email, Brian:
DSCC guys, I share your goal -- getting control of the Senate back in Democratic hands. But really... tomorrow won't be too late. This is May. The election is in November. I'll be glad to contribute some money to you. When I feel like it. Your constant appeals for money aren't appealing. So your "unsubscribe" link was a welcome sight.
I found the various unsubscribe styles intriguing. Most businesses handled this in a straightforward way. I'd click on "unsubscribe," then a web page would pop up in Safari that said You've been unsubscribed. I appreciated the simplicity.
Some political groups, though, either played the Guilt Game or Are You Sure Game. For example, Alan Grayson for Senate. I have no idea how I got on his email list. I'm not even sure what state he is in. Florida, I think. Anyway, at the bottom of his message, I found:
Should you want to unsubscribe -- and let right-wing Republicans and conservative Democrats like Patrick Murphy win -- then click here.
Well, Alan, I don't want that to happen. But I still clicked on "here." Give me a break. A guy in Oregon who clicks on your unsubscribe link is going to wreck the chances of progressives being elected to the Senate?
Organizing for Action, OFA, the group that sprang out of Obama's 2008 campaign, takes a softer approach when the unsubscribe link is clicked on.
I was met with an invitation to watch a "Before You Go" video. Then was asked to click on an "I'll keep fighting" button. Being a Surrender Bunny in their eyes, I scrolled down further to find that an unsubscribe box had a "Fewer emails" choice pre-selected. I had to change that to "No emails" to do the unsubscribe deed.
Local organizations -- in Oregon or Salem -- weren't affected by my unsubscribe frenzy. I feel much more of a connection with political, environmental, and social justice groups in my home state/city.
But damn, it sure felt good to make a start at reducing the number of unwanted emails I get from other groups. I guess for a long time I figured that it was just easier to delete the messages than to unsubscribe from them. And indeed, some groups make you jump through several unsubscribe hoops.
Hopefully my email inbox will start looking more manageable soon. I'm sort of expecting to receive some "We've missed you, Brian" messages, though. Believe me, the feeling won't be mutual.