PressING Unsubscribe

I spent about twenty minutes today following a thread of memories through my inbox to locate the many, many different mailing lists I was on that I did not realise, I had long since stopped reading.

I mean, we all have it in our heads that ‘spam’ is terrible and bad, and I know that, but for some reason I had, over time, slowly accumulated about ten different mailing lists, for different services I did actually use, and in the process created my own little menu of spam to ignore.

Okay, how did it happen, though?

I have been a slow adopter of this ‘online shopping’ thing. I know that sounds weird, since my Amazon account dates back to when I was twenty one and it included stuff that was literally on my wedding registrar. When I started using online shopping, though I was also employed in what was functionally a fuller-than-full-time job at part-time pay, and I didn’t really do much shopping.

I kept a principle that the internet was full of people who wanted my attention on things, and also, second to that, wanted my money. I already have a problem not shopping, period, because I am the kind of person who will leave a broken thing in the house for a long time and wear socks with holes in them because I grew up thinking ‘getting a new thing’ was a luxury that needed an excuse to justify.

Plus there was that stretch of time where I was extremely penny-pinchy unemployed. Like, three hundred AUD a fortnight unemployed, with basically three quarters of that being spent on rent and groceries. During this time, purchases of things like clothes, videogames and toys were all only ever when those things were extremely cheap, and that made me pay a lot of attention to ‘bargain’ emails like the original Humble Indie Bundle promised. Games I’d never get my hands on for a dollar? Hell yes!

After I was on that, and I kept seeing occasional deals, but didn’t find myself buying every time, I felt comfortable accepting the mailing list for a lot of other products and services. After all, what if I got a bargain?

I did use this! I did make sure I checked them! And sometime in 2018 I noticed I wasn’t even reading them any more.

Then this year, I bothered to unsubscribe from them.

That’s a bit of a gap you may notice.

I spent four years of my life getting emails and just immediately marking them read. Why was I? Why was I receiving them? Why was I not taking control and just making them stop arriving? I think for a time there I had a really strong feeling about getting emails, and the long silences created the question ‘why would I even run this email client?’ It was a feeling of not being ignored, like someone was reaching out to send me an email… as part of an automated list that treated me as an Attention Socket.

One part of why was because I was afraid it wouldn’t work. I literally imagined ‘if I unsubscribe, it’ll not work, and then I’ll have to start on an even more annoying quest to try and unsubscribe.’ There was a threat of deactivation that made me uncomfortable, so I didn’t even try.

Anyway, yesterday — from when I wrote this, which yes, is months ago now — I finally told all of them I could find to stop emailing me.

Your attention is currency.

You don’t need to give it to people.

Don’t worry about it

Back to top