Dear Little Miss Social
I subscribe to well over a dozen newsletters – I love the ease at which businesses are able to freely correspond with me via my inbox. But I am a subscriber to one fortnightly missive which I find unsettling, and I am desperate for your advice. The newsletter I refer to often arrives with a provocative subject line and opens with a ‘racy’ image of some sort – recent examples include a woman wearing fishnet stockings, a frozen fish in a bowl, and on one occasion, a cat wearing sunglasses. There is often little content related to actual products or services, instead there are curious little stories – most of which I suspect have just been made up to make some obtuse point.
Surely this is no way to market a business. I don’t want to unsubscribe because I want to see what’s coming next, but can I – should I – make a formal complaint to someone? Is there a government department that has oversee for the maintenance of standards in this area?
Perplexed Newsletter Subscriber,
Dear Gentle Reader
Little Miss Social demands propriety in all manner of social discourse, including within the electronic formats of blogs, newsletters and social media. But adherence to propriety is hardly as excuse to become a slave to beige. Or as they say in Russia, “The man who lives on borsch believes all food is purple.”
If a newsletter you have subscribed to has caused alarm or offence it has served a purpose beyond its original intent – it is an indication that it is time for you, Gentle Reader, to UNSUBSCRIBE. Confident electronic newsletters do not pander to the lowest common denominators of sensibility as mainstream media do. The rise of narrowcasting has made organisational communications much more fun for everybody – people who like a particular sort of thing tend to stay tuned to that sort of thing. And those who don’t, won’t. Self-managing filters such as the unsubscribe button are a boon for everybody – readers and publishers. A newsletter worth opening should serve to inform, educate or entertain in ways that must marginalise the few in order to delight the rest.
Little Miss Social can recommend some wonderfully bland newsletters to subscribe to if you are looking to make up your numbers.
Yours in Social,
Little Miss Social
Postscript. Little Miss Social is curious to read the newsletter you were referring to – it sounds just like her cup of tea. Please send the subscription details at your earliest convenience.