Ever watch your own behavior, looking for clues about who you are?

Sometimes
I do and sometimes I’m surprised at what I see me do. It’s an interesting way to
get insight, deeper or more, into who I am, and too, who you are. I recognize that
I’m more than what I say or think. I’m also what I do. You too. So with that in
mind,
I caught myself by surprise awhile back when I realized that I had made an
adjustment to a procedure that I perform a few times a day, everyday. It had to do
with email of all things. Usually I check my email at the beginning of my day, at
the end of the afternoon, and usually again late at night. Of course if I’m
anticipating some important information of any particular sort I might check
throughout the day. It can be, as you know, quite maddening. On this particular
day, as I was going through my list of messages, I saw myself clicking & deleting
many messages without reading them. And I was being pretty brutal about it. On
that day it was new behavior for me, but now it has become habitual.
Probably like many of you, I have several email accounts, and for efficiency I
funnel them into one account. On that account I have a spam filter that seems
pretty effective. The messages that get through are generally ones that I expect
to find. Social contacts & business connections, organizations whose goals I
support, subjects I’m interested in, you know, that kinda thing. And yet here I was
blindly discarding some of them.
Email burn-out? Bad mood? Info overload? Life distress? I took a look at what
precipitated my behavior figuring I’d then decide what to do about it. Now,
Emails from friends are always opened. That said, everything else, as you’ll soon
see, is subject to pre-review. Those messages from organizations I support like
animal & pet protection groups, organic food sites, and alternative energy sites?
Newsletters that stream in daily from bloggers big & small? Others from
professional, health, travel, video, voiceover groups, Japan, ebay, my Credit
tomjdolan.com “Performance of Speaking” tom@tomjdolan.com
“Fi lters”
Tom j Dolan
Tokyo
Union, Social media sites, Creative sites, and all sorts of stuff connected to all
that stuff. So finally, after thinking about this email overflow I arrived at a
workable solution. I decided to deal with the contents of my email inbox like I
handle my diet. Let me explain.
I don’t control my diet by deciding what to do with the food that’s in my kitchen
cupboard. I control my diet by deciding what food I put into my kitchen cupboard.
That’s not an insignificant difference. For me it all begins when I’m reading labels
at the market, and junk does get through this filter… but by agreement.
I like pets and take care of a cat...you never “own” a cat. Anyway, I’m concerned
about pets being abused, abandoned, or suffering the results of poor breeding.
Things like that bother me and I like to keep abreast of pet related information. I
sign petitions, re-post pet info that comes my way, and generally participate in
pet awareness. That said,
Awhile back, I noticed that one of the sites whose email I began to discard
without opening was a pet info site. I was tired of opening a daily email only to be
met with an unattractive landing page filled with products for $ale. Products for
pets, products for pet owners, products that “show support” for a pet cause.
Tiresome really. I used to wade through the site searching for the information I
had signed up to receive. No more. I would see the email with it’s title hawking
something, and unopened, with a mouse click! I’d dispose of it.
I have choices, You have choices, Better choices. Different choices. It’s the web.
Well, I’m not a Masochist. Yes I’ll freely admit that I’ve requested much of the
email I receive. Some of the sites promised to teach me something. About web
business, technology, social media… all sorts of stuff that I wanted to know about
at that time. So in exchange for my email address, which as you know is the
price of access, I begin receiving emails. Frequently they arrive frequently. Daily
even. Recently, political groups have become even more determined I’ve
discovered. Do you see that too?
For a few weeks or months, longer for some, the emails provide information that I
find interesting. The concepts, the techniques, the perspectives deliver new info
and I feel the reading investment is worthwhile. Then at some point in time, many
no longer seem worth my time, my attention. So, what changed? Well, I began to
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notice the $ales Pitch more then the information. When the balance tips from the
information to the $ale, it’s obvious. It’s a feeling, a transparent Tipping Point.
This evolution, this shift, varies in time & intensity from email provider to provider.
There’s repeated emphasis on the value of the information to come. Then the
push to “Buy Now” or lose the “Deal” soon. Don’t you just hate it? And, too the
appearance of Affiliate links that when selected, whisk me to another site also
offering invaluable information. In exchange for my email address, of course. A
scheme that has become Commonplace, Predictable, Boring, Repetitive, and
finally Alienating. But, I had an idea, an alternative approach.
In lieu of alienating me with all of those offers, often appearing prematurely in the
conversation, what if the blogger, business person, writer, speaker, technocrat,
site designer, et al, did this. What if these “Pretenders”
1
decided to “manage” me
with an offer rather than “assault” me with one.
A simple concept of thoughtful marketing that might appear something like this:
After delivering some, most, or even all of the promised information that I
originally wanted, an offer arrives in an email: a soft-sell offer with a Deadline,
time limits are fair, but not a frantic “Deathline- Buy Now or Die Frodo.”
A simple message: “Here it is, if you like my ideas and see the benefit of learning
more, please click on this link for the details.” A pleasant suggestion, not a threat
to be locked outside the gates if I don’t “Act now! Today! This week! Because,
Once it’s Gone it’s really Gone! FOREVER!” Oh...My...God!!
In an attempt to avoid this evolutionary stuff clogging my inbox, I’ve taken action
to choose more carefully from the outset. I’ve established a layer of Filters that I
apply in choosing what I want to get through them:
• No Knee-jerk reactions. I Check the Source more thoroughly than before. Yes,
I’ve bought Albums because the 1
st
Track was great, but now there’s iTunes.
• I Bookmark & Read directly from the blog or site or even twitter prior to signing
up. I may discover what I need to know from a few random reads.
• I do a Google search- social proof.
tomjdolan.com “Performance of Speaking” tom@tomjdolan.com
1
Pretenders in lieu of Teacher, Educator, Trainer, Instructor, Guide.
• Offers will eventually come, it’s to be expected, and that’s OK. If the Sale takes
precedence over the information, I resign.
• Successful entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily successful Teachers.
• A high number of followers doesn’t necessarily indicate High Quality info.
If it isn’t More than Numbers, It’s not for me. Then,
Throughout the email delivery, I also keep these points in mind:

Longevity counts but people do Burn-out.

Is the information held to a High Standard. Is it Consistent? Is it Trustworthy?

Some providers “Hold-back” information they hope to $ell. Is this Obvious?”

Am I better informed? How do I feel about this information?

Repetition is OK, but without a fresh Perspective, it’s simply Redundant.

Do I like this person? And too, Do I still like this person?

Do I really need whatever this person is telling-n-selling?
You know and I know the web is evolving into a giant 21
st
century Global
Marketplace. My guidelines have evolved over time to deal with that phenomena.
I call them “Filters”. Your “Filters” might look like mine or not, that’s not important.
What is important is to have something in place that you’ve decided upon as your
guide to making good decisions about your interaction with the web.
The commercialization of the web was always to be expected, I suppose. It does
seem like it has developed into whatever it is, very quickly and the laws
governing it’s operation are hopefully keeping up with it.
Applying my filters before and during any interaction enables me to decide 1
st
if
any offering has value, and later, do I still want it. Filtering has reduced my email
to a manageable amount of messages that I actually want. If stuff slips through, a
click of the mouse or a tap on the pad resolves the issue. Simple. Safe.
tomjdolan.com “Performance of Speaking” tom@tomjdolan.com
Tom j Dolan, the Author, is a Trainer/Coach and the producer of
“Performance of Speaking” a video website devoted to Training &
Coaching Native English Speakers & ESL Speakers who want to
contribute to the Global conversations shaping the future of their
Communities, Country, and Planet.

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