I had a feeling this blog post existed. I just Googled “Marie Kondo Email” and it was the first result. Marie Kondo has been kinda famous for a while for writing about tidying up your space. But super extra famous lately because of the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
Does it spark joy? No. Get rid of it.
That’s the vibe. People relate to it. I certainly do. We all want permission to get rid of crap. Every time we do it feels good. So no wonder people are applying that logic to their emails. No more guilt about unsubscribing to stuff and ruthlessly cleaning house. Marie Kondo gave us permission. These emails are no longer sparking joy.
Marie Grace Garis details all these emails she gets that certainly aren’t sparking joy:
… when all was said and done, I removed myself from 23 mailing lists just by being emotionally honest with myself. And that makes sense for a life lived online; there’s still so many reminders of who I once was. And whether digital or physical, being true to yourself and what gives you joy is still the route of what will clear up your world.
It’s still a matter of trust. Do you trust them, while they definitely are reading your personal emails, to not doing anything you wouldn’t want them to with it? I don’t think I’m ready for that level of trust. Ironic, perhaps, as I’m perfectly happy using Google for email.
I like how honest Unroll.me is, at least.
Unroll.Me is owned by Rakuten Intelligence, a market research organization that provides businesses with insights into industry trends, corporate performance, and the competitive landscape. When you sign up for Unroll.Me, we share your transactional emails with Rakuten Intelligence, who helps us de-identify and combine your information with that of over 5.5 million users, including Rakuten Intelligence’s shopping panel.
I should have probably published this here. Alas, it’s on my personal blog: HELLO I HAVE A GUEST BLOG POST PROPOSAL FOR YOU. The point: these spammy bastards are a lot more personal than they used to be. Like a robocall, these are personal, sometimes hand-written emails. If you engage with them, you’ll definitely talk to a real human being. They want to give you link-ridden garbage to publish on your site.
We all ignore some emails. It’s almost culturally acceptable, particularly if the email is out of the blue and you have no ties to the person or company they are with.
Hey I’ve got a thing! You should see it! Let’s set up a call!
Person you don’t know
It certainly feels more polite to respond. Sorry, sir, I don’t have time for whatever it is you want. (“Don’t have time” being the culturally acceptable wording of “I don’t care about this.”) Even if the out-of-the-blue email isn’t polite in itself, part of the spirit of being polite is being polite no matter what.
The danger is that, in responding, you’re opening up the door just a little bit. Like making eye contact with someone belligerently drunk. They might see it as in invitation to engage.
Tough call, really. For me, it sort of depends on what kind of mood I’m in.
Except that last one, for me. I don’t need a follow up. If I read your email and intend to respond, you’ll get one. If I didn’t respond, it’s because I (sorry) didn’t determine it worth responding to. If you follow up with a “hey did you read this”, I’m extra definitely going to ignore it.
Everyone is different, so if Joel has found that effective, all good. I don’t say all this to sound all cool, I just say it as a warning that it can be the opposite of effective.
I’m leaning towards completely shunning social media if I build a new product. Instead, I’d focus on building a higher quality email list. There’s the big benefit of being a more direct line to customers and being less prone to the whims of the social media companies, but more than anything, I feel like a newsletter is a better way to communicate. Sure we’d have a blog and changelog, but longer-form, more thoughtful communication feels like the way to go.