This will be a short one. It comes down to one question really. Did you know that when you unsubscribe from an email, the sender can see that?
Did you know that?
If you didn’t, are you thinking about what you have done? Remember your aunt’s Etsy store where she repurposed found feathers into hair accessories. She saw when you unsubscribed. Or when your old coworker started her grapefruit resin cleanse blog? She saw when you unsubscribed. And your friend who has a legitimate business that you legitimately don’t care about. He saw it too. He saw it and it made him wonder why. The answer is as obvious as it is defeating — you don’t want any more of these emails.
It’s pretty easy to see both sides. I unsubscribe from a handful of emails everyday. Yet, they keep coming. They’re a real pain in my inbox. Ironically, the emails I get the most are for people offering to redo our website. Point being, I get why people unsubscribe. How much can we possibly consume? You need more emails like you need more old magazines you’re planning to read.
This is how it feels when you receive an unsubscribe notification.
But, on the other side of the laptop, the sender receives a notification of who unsubscribed from their last email. The email that is a nuisance to you, likely to a week of drafts, proofs, and peer reviews before a nervous and insecure sender raised a shaky digit and pushed “send.” When you press send on an email that goes out to hundreds or thousands of friends, colleagues and subscribers, you are sharing a part of yourself with the them. You’re exposed, vulnerable and open to criticism from all. And, it’s easy to say to yourself, “who cares what people think.”
You know who cares? Me. You know who else cares? You and everybody else. We all care what people think. If we didn’t, we’d all be rocking velour track suits and sensible Hyundai Sonatas. But, we give 1,000 damns about what others think. We want to feel cool, considered clever, and told we’re funny when we’re attempting to be funny. It’s okay to care.
But, we also have to remember why we sent that email. We sent it because we decided we believe in something so intensely we’re willing to be rejected. Aunt Sheila believes in her aluminum can lanterns enough to share her creations. Cara wants people to know about her grapefruit compote cleanse because her heart is all in on acid and alkaline. She’s committed. And, committed can also mean crazy. You have to be a little off to open yourself up, knowing rejection is only a click away. I wonder who’s going to unsubscribe from this email. You’d have to be a real rat bastard, which is a badge most of my close friends would certainly wear proudly. Or, maybe you just don’t give a damn. Good for you.
I wish I didn’t give a damn. But, in every way I can imagine, I most definitely give a damn.