Asking your advice on my mailings/newsletter

Dear friends,

I need your help to decide whether to change the nature of our communications.

Recently I decided to simplify the maintenance of my mailing list – which you are on.  So I began researching services that manage email communications for organizations – services like MadMimi.com and MailChimp.com.  What I found reached far beyond what I’d started out looking for.

On the plus side, such a service would increase the “quality of the list” (the percentage of recipients who open and read my messages) and the appearance of my communications (from text to graphics, for those who’d like that).  They also would give me lots of information on what engages you.  At my current level of operations this could be done at no cost.

On the down side, this arrangement would add another layer of erosion of privacy – another company would have your email addresses and information about you (although within the constraints of their privacy policy).  It would require a bit more work for me.  But perhaps most importantly, it would introduce a certain level of alienation.  These services think of you as a customer and what I’m doing as marketing campaigns.

This view is different from the ways I’ve viewed our relationship, in which we are all engaged in work to change the world in positive ways. Immersed in flows of information and fields of possibility in which we are learning from each other, I share my thoughts and you carry them into your life and work.  Many of you share your thoughts with me and I carry them into my life and work.  And twice a year I ask you for support to keep going at this full time and expanding the work of the Co-Intelligence Institute, and some of you contribute in that way.

But all this has been basically a gifting relationship aimed at making positive change and increasing our understanding of the significant shifts going on in our world and of the deeper meaning of our lives.  It isn’t a business arrangement aimed at getting something from each other.

On the other hand, business can be done in a spirit of sustainable service.  And the information gathered about you can support giving you, as a customer, better service.  This just has not been my perspective, and I feel cautious about making the shift.  Subtle though it may be, it is part of a larger social development about which I have concerns.

My inclination is to back off from this shift and return to my previous lower-tech approach of just sending email messages to friends and colleagues.  On the other hand, that lower-tech approach may limit my influence as a change agent and deprive you of a more engaging experience.

I want to reflect on all this with you some more before I decide.  Let’s talk about it on my blog for a week or so and see what comes up.

If you have responses, please post them as comments here.  If you’d like to see what others are saying, visit the comment section below a few times over the next week.  Let’s make some good sense out of this.

In the meantime, I will maintain my lower-tech newsletter style.

Thank you for joining me in this exploration.

Coheartedly,
Tom

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