Direct Line Blog

I've got mail? Forward it to my Facebook

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Two weeks ago, I did something not altogether radical for a member of the so-called “Facebook Generation.” I logged in to my dummy e-mail account specially designated for e-mail marketers and unsubscribed from every one of them.

Some of them I'd originally subscribed to out of guilt. I'd worked retail for three years and knew the spit-swallowing it takes to ask someone to sign up for a store's e-mail list. Some of them I'd subscribed to because I thought it'd be cool to know when the lifts on my favorite mountain would open or when a new surf video would be available for download.

But I realized none of those e-mail lists mattered. Of the hundreds of e-mails that I regularly received to that account, only the ones promising discounts did I ever open.

Worse yet­ — especially for e-mail marketers — I came to only check that account every few months. The remoteness of the dummy account was too much of a hassle to access, but the constancy of the e-mails was too much a nuisance to sync the account to my phone. By the time I would open an e-mail promising “40% off everything ­— this weekend only!” several weekends had passed.

So I thought it odd when I attended last week's “Social Media and E-mail: A Match Made for Marketers” panel as part of New York's Social Media Week and heard the panelists' concern that e-mail users will be receiving marketing messages in a designated “other” folder instead of their main messages folder.  To the marketers, this separation will keep consumers like me at arm's length from them. Meanwhile, to me, this separation will keep the marketers at arm's length, but more importantly, it will keep them only a click away, which is a heck of a lot more convenient than a whole login away.

Like most people my age, I'm on Facebook every day. It's just a fact of life. So although marketing e-mails won't be mixed in with event invites from friends and messages from family, I wouldn't want them to be. That's why I had the dummy e-mail account in the first place. But if those messages can be filtered from my main message stream and stashed in an adjacent folder that doesn't require loading a new Web page and punching in new login information, I'm all for it. The convenience alone means I'll check those e-mails more often and likely in time to actually use the coupons. That's a lot better than I can say for the status quo. So instead of e-mail marketers fearing Facebook Messages, they should be in favor of it. I know I am.

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