I am trying to walk the line between apathetic and overwhelmed. That is, I am trying to do what I can for what I know is right while also doing good self care.
This means I'm on several organizations' mailing lists, which means I've been signing petitions, making phone calls, and occasionally donating money. So far, so fine.
But, it also means I often get the same email, or close enough to the same email, from several different sources, and often at several different eddresses. The latter isn't as much of an issue, as that's in my control. The former, though, is.
I'm having trouble remembering "Did I sign this petition already?" I'm getting annoyed with being asked, many, many times, to make the same calls. Now, it is possible to keep track of what I've done with a log, but that is an extra step I'm tired of. I started out doing it, but I'm not currently doing it.
And while I am muttering to myself, "Wouldn't it be better if these groups coordinated to cut out the redundancy? Wouldn't it be more efficient?", I am aware that the answer is probably "No." If I sign something multiple times, that's not a problem the organizations emailing me need to deal with -- heck, I have no idea whether duplicate online petition signatures are dealt with at all. And coordinating? Figuring out how to email folks only once? That takes effort, and these are organizations that do not want to focus their effort on this particular thing. They want to reach the most people they can, and get as many as possible working for their causes. Doing anything else takes time away from this.
And then, there are the headers and the emails themselves.
I loathe the ones that start "please Lisa" or "do not delete!" I will absolutely delete those on sight. We're not on a first name basis. I know this is a form letter. The fake intimacy gets my hackles up. And "do not delete"? If I would delete it without that, I will sure as heck delete it with that, and if I'd normally read it, well, tough. Do these tactics actually work? (Attention whoever does Nancy Pelosi's email: I will always delete her stuff unread. For me, your tactics suck.)
I loathe more the misleading and fake news headers. I got so confused by the ones yelling that Georgia was a disaster and ones yelling that the seat was flipped (which was more along the lines of "seat flipped! Well, actually, we can maybe do this, and it'd be really useful, and here's how you can help...") that I had no idea when the actual election took place. I kept assuming it was over, and then, another email or five with a subject header about it popped up in emailbox again.
I had no idea what the actual situation was or even when this particular battle was over, at least for the moment.
I don't like overly alarmist emails. The world is alarming, but some of the emails are being selective in their facts. The net result here is that after a couple of these, I get very skeptical and less likely to do whatever it is that these organizations want me to do, starting with reading their email in the first place.
I can't tell what the actual situation is? I am going to tune your organization out. You're making noise, not signal, and I'm moving on to other things.
I have to do research to know where you're presenting the worst possible situation and whether this issue is one where I need to focus my limited resources? I'm deleting this email and I become more likely to delete all email from your organization -- and from others, because I simply can't hear the signal for all the noise.
Your header states something as if it has happened, but the actual text reveals that it's still being debated, or perhaps that someone has said they want this thing to happen? I delete that email and am likely to delete anything on this subject, which is a problem if you actually want me to take any kind of action.
And I've just hit a new one, a header that says, "Where are you Lisa?" Well, whatever organization sent that, guess what? I deleted that pronto, filled with rage, and that rage was directed at the organization that theoretically wants my help.
But for me, the worst is the constant bombardment. When it hits a certain point, I go into self care mode and start deleting all of it. I don't care who it's from -- I don't know any of these people or organizations. I don't care what subject it's on -- there are so many fires burning, all of which are utterly urgent, and no single source of "Okay, focus here, for ths reason, and here's how you know when we've won a round or lost a round, and what happens next."
I get a constant rush of fear and anxiety, and I have to turn off the tap. I have to stop. And the organizations and people who most want to encourage me not to give up, not to yield to fear or confusion or anxiety or indifference are part of the problem.
This is mostly venting to get it out of my system, but I am curious to know whether:
* the tactics that annoy me actually work
* there is any way to automatically figure out if I've signed a particular petition already
* how many others are in my boat