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A “Personal” Message for 12,345  People

I get a TON of email. I have signed up for lots of newletters, blogs and programs. I have a large readership. My email address is public knowledge and fair game.

More and more I get emails with “Personal message from…” and it’s obviously gone out to an entire email list. 99% of the time I just automatically delete them. I hate being lied to. It’s not a personal message. “Personal” involves both sides… it may be personal to them (hardly ever, in reality) but it’s not personal to me.

As I said, most of the time it’s not personal anyway, even the one-sided kind. “Personal” is just a way to make you think it is something more than a mass email that is for the sole benefit of the sender. It’s a marketing gimmick. And believe me, I know. I live in the marketing world on a daily basis. I know all the techniques (and avoid most of them because of their insincere and manipulative nature).

Ironically, I don’t getting impersonal emails. I don’t mind marketing messages and announcements from people I’ve signed up with. But don’t tell me it’s a “personal” message in an attempt to make the message more valuable or important.  It’s just an automatic clue that the manipulation has already begun.

Note: Not that it matters. One person’s observation on this is not going to change this widely used and successful technique.

Double Standards

More frequently these days, I’m seeing 18-wheelers on the highway with no English writing on them at all. Not the signage, the license, the operating information, nothing. They are covered with Spanish only driven by a Latino (at least by appearance).

Do they have to hear to the same standards and regulations as American truckers? Do the drivers speak English or able to read American road signage? What if they cause and accident and hurt an American? Is there any recourse? Do they pay the same ridiculous taxes and fees as American truckers?

Something tells me… no. Anyone out there know about this?

The Wonder & Disappointment of Social Media

Social media can be both thrilling and disappointing. It allows us to meet new people that we may not have ever had a chance to cross paths with otherwise (humanly speaking; God can arrange anything).  It also allows us to reconnect with family and old friends that we’ve lost touch with because of time or distance.  It can be thrilling, joyful and fun.

The flip side… sometimes we find out that those people we are most excited and anxious to reconnect with, don’t really care all that much about reconnecting with us. That can be a huge disappointment. We live with our perceptions of the past relationship or friendship, for decades sometimes, thinking it is a shared and mutual recollection. It’s a mixture of embarrassment and discouragement to find out it was all one-sided in your own mind.

“Hello my long lost best friend! I’ve thought about this moment for years… I’m thrilled to talk to you again!” (and you are SURE they are going to be just as excited to hear from you).

“Oh, hey, uh… hi. Good to hear from you. Hope you’re doing well. Bye.”

That can be a heartbreaker but… like all things, it should teach us a lesson. We should be alert for other people who want to reconnect with us and we don’t feel much enthusiasm towards them. We should be more cognizant of their feelings and realize that it is no fun to have your long awaited “moment” dashed — finding out that someone really doesn’t care all that much about reconnecting, catching up or rekindling a friendship.

As good people, as Christians, we should view this as an opportunity.  You may just be that one friend they really need in their life. There are no accidental meetings with God, so think twice next time someone “Facebooks” you and says “I’m so glad I found you!” and your first response is “yawn”.

As a point of maturing spiritually, this phenomenon, newly arrived with social media, should also help us to realize that our memories and perspectives about other people are often skewed. It reminds me of this truth: there are FOUR versions of you:

  1. what you think of yourself
  2. what you think others think of you
  3. what others truly think of you
  4. the real you known only to God