Do I offend?
When I was a boy, I read a short story that made a big impression on me. The details are fuzzy (I’ve tried Googling it, but haven’t found it), but the gist of it was that the main character — a young person — was constantly feeling slighted by others. One day, while riding on the bus, s/he looked up and saw an advertisement with the headline “DO YOU OFFEND?” This sparked the realization that s/he too may be causing the very thing s/he was railing against. The dawning of self-awareness.
Every once in a while, I’ll post on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter telling folks about this newsletter and inviting them to sign up. In my latest such call, I positioned the newsletter as help for meeting the challenge of being productive and present in a world of digital distractions. A friend rightfully called me out on this. Couldn’t the newsletter itself be a distraction, albeit a worthy one? Good point. DO YOU OFFEND?
You have enough distractions. Why should you give me your attention? Am I helping by sending out this newsletter, or am I adding to the problem?
When I compile these emails, I try to include a mix of things that will inform and entertain you. My aim is to help you be more aware of your use of information environments, so you can be more effective. Of course, I’d also like for you to check out my book and my workshops. Like everybody else, I too have something to sell. What’s the right mix?
I see this as a system — one I’d like to optimize. There's only value in it for me if it generates value for you. My feedback mechanisms are limited: I can tell how many people have signed up and how many have unsubscribed; I can see if you’ve opened the email and if you’ve clicked on any of the links, but that’s about it — not a very rich source of information. What I really want is to know if this is serving you — if it’s worth your (and my!) time.
How could I improve this newsletter? What would you like to see? Is it too long? Not long enough? Too frequent? Too infrequent? What could I do to help you use information environments more productively? Please let me know. (You can reply to this email.)