I did something really dumb

About 6 months ago I did something really stupid…

Here’s what happened. Many of you know that you, the kind and gentle reader, are my true passion. I have been posting to this blog on a weekly basis for well over three years without missing a week. OK, maybe once when I was very feverish. And certainly some posts are better than others. I have my favorites, and hope you do to. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out what to write about, the discipline of actually writing and the almost inexplicable thrill of providing some value to you the reader, be it in the form of amusement or actionable content.

And the truth is that really those three years are merely the beginning, a proof of concept if you will. To see if I could actually manage to perform consistently. For various reasons, I have gotten what you might call a “late start” or a “slow start” in life. I truly wish I had “found”, for lack of a better word, my passion and craft of the written word earlier in life. Because I have learned that developing one’s craft takes time. At least with age comes a modicum of acceptance, and so we move on. Conversely, I actually did “find” the Internet very near the beginning. Some would say at the beginning. I also discovered WordPress well, not at the beginning but near enough. Truth be told, I had stumbled across it twice in the very early days, each time discounting each time because it “was too hard” or “not for me” or “I don’t understand blogging”. So no complaints there, not much time wasted before I did my first WordPress website for a client, and was pretty much instantly hooked. Little did I know 🙂

And on to the point. By now you get that although I am not a famous blogger, or a rich blogger but that I am a passionate blogger. And every good blogger needs a list to send out the blog posts to. This list is key in many online endeavors. Key. Seriously.

And one mistake many make at least initially with their list is to micro manage the list. Meaning to be concerned about who is on the list and, more dangerously, who signed off the list. Because this invariably leads to, hmm, I do not like that person anymore. Or, this person has not opened enough emails. Or that other person has not paid me enough attention in the past month. Basically a rabbit hole of ego stroking hell that can never be successfully resolved because it involves… people. And people change. People die. People sign off your list. And I knew all this. And had successfully managed to avoid this debacle for years.

I am sure by now you are thinking that I went and micro managed my list of about all of maybe 85 people and started judging and choosing and deleting, etc. And you would be wrong. But a little tiny bit right. Know this. It is theoretically and practically impossible to look at your list even in overview scanning mode and not feel a twinge here and there when you actually look at the names on your list. Which is why, again, I really worked hard to not ever look at who signed on or of my list. As long as I had a list of more than say 10 or 20 readers, I was content to continue blogging. And the list for many years was close to 100, so that was a definite go. Because like I said was above, this is really just the beginning. The motor has been started. Let’s rock.

Gee Dave, if you did not go to micro managing hell, what on earth did you do that was so stupid?

Ah, I was kind of hoping you would not ask. However, if you have read this far, you deserve the answer. I simply decided to login and “prune” the list. This means that like if I knew someone had died, or someone had a “dead” email address, or had not opened an email in like 2 years or more, that I would simply delete them. This is wise for anyone who manages a list to do once in awhile in the same way it is wise to prune bushes. It just makes sense.

The fact that I rarely logged in to MailChimp, my list manager, and the fact that they are always improving their software, combined to confuse me enough so that when I got the genius idea to “filter” the names so that these folks would be rounded up and deleted all at once. This way it would save me from having to look at all the names and judge whether each one was “worthy” of being on my list 🙂 So far, so good. Except that after MailChimp, at my command, filtered these say 35 in total names, and I pushed the DELETE button, I quickly realized that I did not run the filter correctly.

And it could not be undone. And I was STILL not sure which of the 35 actually needed to be deleted. And after contacting MailChimp and jumping through some hoops, it turns out that the ONLY way to put them back was one by one. Ouch. Because I really and truly hate doing that sort of stuff. And as of yet, I have not done it. Double ouch. Due to the fact that the way MailChimp, correctly in my opinion, runs their business, once a subscriber has told the list manager they they no longer want to receive those mails, MailChimp makes it super hard to put them back. And this even though it was ME that deleted them. Triple ouch.

And if I put them all back on, I will invariably tee off someone who actually, hard as it is to imagine, does not want to be on my list. Ah, I am sensing the horns of a dilemma 🙂 Because, you see, if I pay no attention to who signs on or of my list, I am happy. And if someone, especially someone I “like” and deem “worthy” of being on my list, signs off, then I am unhappy. And I much prefer being happy. The old phrase ignorance is bliss rings true, very true.

Truth is, it will probably be a week before I can get to grinding the names back on the list. And the only reason I would do this is that I simply do not want to take a chance that someone who actually enjoys my weekly ramblings was needlessly deleted by me. I will have to find a way to come up with a post that concisely explains what happened, why they got off the list and why they were finally put back on. *while sleeping I figured out a way to do this.

So as you can sense by now, I did not lie in my post title. Nosiree. I did something dumb.

There are two actual take-aways here.

  1. Be careful with your list filtering. (I cannot help but think of the song by Pink Floyd called “Be Careful with that Axe, Eugene”. I crack up every time I think of that title, it simply cannot bode well 🙂
  2. I will be working hard to make the next three years well worth sticking around. I just wish I knew exactly how at this time. I guess we both need to stay tuned to find out.

Have a wonderful weekend.