One of the nice things about most digital services is the opt-in feature. If I want to subscribe to a certain newsfeed, newsletter or service of some sort, I can simply sign up and, bingo, the content is pushed to my e-mail address.
Sadly, though, the ‘opt-in’ rule apparently doesn’t apply to family newsletters, which seem to proliferate around the holiday season. Do you get these things? Typically, they’re written (very poorly, I might add) by a distant cousin, niece or great aunt twice removed. And, they contain all sorts of personal information about the sender’s family: Little Eddie’s soccer team went undefeated. Ann is an honor roll student at the local junior high. Peggy Sue’s impacted molar has to be extracted. And, thank goodness, the newsletter’s author just adores those Friday night bridge matches with the neighbors.
Excuse me, but did I opt-in for this family news? And, do I really need to know that Cousin Fran’s little boy is suffering from a ruthless toe fungus that simply won’t go away?
So, here’s the first of a few wishes for the New Year: those of you who painstakingly write and distribute newsletter updates to friends and family alike, think about an opt-in direct response card with the next one. Give me the opportunity to decide whether I am indeed interested in learning the latest news about Madison’s throat and ear infection. The distant family relationship you save may be your own.