Message to engagement folks: Be better.

  • “Open immediately - Time sensitive material!”
  • “Important information - Action may be required”

I fantasize about putting the people who bombard me with crap like the above through a similar hell. When you’re rich, you can probably pay someone else to filter through all the noise for you. “My time and attention are valuable. If yours was, you could pay someone to filter it for you too.”

Only our time, attention, and meta data are valuable or these folks wouldn’t be paying money to get it.

And it’s not just people who want to sell you things. Everyone is trying to bombard you with messages constantly.

During the recent hurricanes, the city and power company separately and repeatedly sent simultaneous texts, emails, and robocalls with “IMPORTANT INFORMATION.” If I’d been stuck in a situation, I might have appreciated it but even then I would have appreciated it more if they had targeted the information accurately and if I’d been given the option of which channel(s) they’d use.

One of the two offenders had the option to text them “STOP” to stop the noise. Then a day or so later I got a text on the same number asking me to confirm my address. I ignored it figuring I’d just be encouraging them by confirming.

It’s not even all stuff meant for me. I’ve been bombarded because someone implemented systems that didn’t confirm whether a number or email address was correct before allowing someone to sign up with it. A gambler in Australia used one of my email addresses and the gambling sites wouldn’t let me stop them. A student in Ohio used one of my email addresses and real live human beings refused to acknowledge the mistake until I let them know they were in violation of U.S. anti-spam laws (since I didn’t have any kind of relationship with the university).

One bad parent used one of my phone numbers to sign up for school distrct emergency alerts apparently on purpose. I got alerts at the start and end of every school shut down for the entire district until I figured out how to stop that one.

And sometimes something really was important and slipped through the cracks because of all the unimportant, manipulative stuff demanding attention right now.

I haven’t even talked about apps on smart devices. Streaming service trying to notify you about “area concerts” a hundred or more miles away, games reminding you to play them or miss out on things, low value attempts to increase your “engagement” in things like Fitbit.

For smart devices, at least there’s an answer. It sucks and you have to do a lot of manual work but you can at least silence the interruptions by digging through the settings and telling every last app “Nope. Nice try but enough is enough.”

For the rest of this stuff, our options are limited.

I don’t really have any good solutions for the average person reading this. But if you’re one of those people involved in marketing and engagement and you consider yourself one of “the good ones,” then please from me and everyone else:

Be better.

I don’t have a longer message. Sift through the above to find your “user stories” if you really need them. Just. Be. Better.

About Eve Ingoldsby
You can reach me at https://octodon.social/@EveHasWords