While there are many aspects of social media that frustrate me, one that constantly pops up in my mind is the “silent unfollow.”
Whether it be Twitter, Instagram, or even email, you are able to unsubscribe or unfollow most feeds of information without the other party being aware. While I think silently unsubscribing makes sense in the context of large corporations mindlessly blasting marketing nonsense to strangers, it is striking that when it comes to using these platforms for interpersonal connection, you can choose to just start ignoring a friend without them even knowing.
Because of this, it’s hard for me to ever see most “social” media as a place for genuinely connecting with friends. So for my personal email newsletters, the ones I send to my inner-circle of friends, I have a very simple policy.
According to some interpretations of CAN-SPAM law, it is arguable that email letters or blog posts sent via email to multiple recipients might classify as activity that legally requires an unsubscribe function. While it is not required to be automatic, it is required that you:
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you
- Honor opt-out requests promptly
If you want to unsubscribe, you have to look me in the virtual eye and say your emails fucking suck buddy, I can’t take it anymore, and then I shed a single tear and move on with my life.
There’s no other way.