Notes From Our DRE November 2021: Junk Mail

I’m shocked at how much junk mail I still get. How are we this far into the digital age, and I’m still getting booklets and packets and circulars that are FULL of advertising and coupons and desperate attempts to make me aware of local and national vendors of all kinds of things. It’s a reminder how wasteful our instincts are when we live in a world where selling and buying are the main motivators of our day. And it’s a reminder how impersonally we live in our communication channels where information is shared without much in the way of context or personal awareness. Maybe the algorithm that feeds Costco coupons knows that I like to buy parmigiano reggiano there, but does Costco know about the emotional response that I have when I bite into a piece of it?

I was recently reminded what it means when someone reaches out, personally. I spend a lot of time navigating “channels” of communication. Social media, website, eBlast, newsletter (as you find me here!)–each channel has its own dimensions and specific feel. Some messages are appropriate to some of those but not others. Some channels have more listeners and reach more people. And I spend time thinking about how to reach as many people as I can. But the personal messages I send, the ones intended for one person and not many, those are the ones that are of the most value, the ones that say the most. 

We’re entering a season where there are lots of excuses to reach out to one another, and I’m going to try to take seriously how extraordinary the opportunity is. Because actually connecting with another person when you reach out to one other person with a message meant for that one individual is a powerful thing. And no matter if it is a digital message or a physical card or if it is scrawled onto a gift, it is a kind of connection that raises the dignity of our communication and reminds us why it’s worth reaching out at all.