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Singular Blonde: Unsubscribing to My Life

As I am packing up my life to head off to Singularity University this summer, I am clearing out my e-mail subscriptions and realized I am a subscription-o-holic. I have at least 45 subscriptions and that doesn't even count the junkmail! My collaborator and friend, Fang-Yu, saw my inbox and was shocked. I felt embarrassed, he must think I am a subscription whore.

This has me thinking about how my inbox subscriptions represent me as a person. My facebook, personal, work, and singularityu email inboxes all have a story to tell. 

  • My personal account says "Guilt Groupe, WhoWhatWhere, JuJu Organics, Ellen DeGeneres, Travelocity Deals, Horchow, Bergdorf Goodman, Pixie Market, ShopBop, DorkBots, Millesime, RueLaLa, The Frisky, Facebook, Kerastase, Photojojo, Bank Loan, eBay, Splendora, Martha Stewart Craft of The Day, American Airlines, and Groupon" 
  • My work account says "Connecting Designers, TechNews ACM, Girls In Tech, Southwest Airlines, TED, LinkedIn, Leni Schwendinger, Filmed 307 Group, Materia, GoFundMe, Future Trends, IgniteNYC, ANAT, AEG Live Access, Spoonflower, Accountant, Ecouterre, BurdaStyle, NerdGirls, Vimeo, Website Hosting, Fabilogue, Technorati Writers Group, Fashion Indie, WEtv, and Phillips Design"

I've only shared a few of my memberships. Imagine if you saw them all? Clearly, you'd have to know about how often I read and respond to the subscriptions, but it does paint picture of my interests. In fact, I feel a little exposed by sharing my email list with you.

Hitting "unsubscribe" was harder than I thought.  With each click of the mouse, I let go of a piece of me. These subscriptions were mine, they are what I want when I want it. Now my inbox is a bit cleaner, but it is also lacking in personality. 

Of course, my thoughts on this are not new. Marketers are very aware of the power of the subscription and use it to understand their customers. And, researchers use this information to learn about people, their interests, habits, and more.  

When it is late at night or I need a short break, where will I turn for a quick update on current trends, where to shop, travel deals, favorite stores, concerts, art openings, news alerts, networks, and bargains? Of course, I have an RSS feed, but it just isn't the same. 


I know how you feel. We all subscribe in one way or another.

As driven interdisciplinary people we feel like we have to know everything, but it's really OK if we don't. We can only do and digest so much. There's no need to fool ourselves into thinking we are polymaths who have more than 24 hours in a day.

Dork alert! I used to watch a lot of HGTV and Bravo. I learned how and why to downsize, which is ironic, since they are supported by advertisers telling us to buy and accumulate.

If you haven't used something in a year you probably don't need it. Applying this guideline to my online presence, I've been going through my accounts and trimming the fat. All accounts that have been inactive are inactive, because they DON'T FIT into my life or AREN'T AS USEFUL as a I thought they would be.

After streamlining, which I'm still working on (I have a lot of accounts!), the smaller group lacks breadth and has a less colorful personality. What's left is a lean mean group of truly useful resources that won't waste my time and energy.

I say "HOORAY!" and "CONGRATS!" on cleaning house. Here's to more productive, less complicated days, and HAVE AN AWESOME TIME AT SINGULARITY!


Monday, June 14, 2010 - 10:36