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Cory Doctorow

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The other side of an e-mail campaign

Have you ever wondered, my fellow liberals, what it must be like to be on the receiving end of an e-mail campaign to get advertisers to stop advertising on a TV and/or radio program that makes our stomachs churn and offends our senses?

Colorofchange.org has been running a campaign to get advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck's daily Fox News program.  The count of big-name companies who are avoiding that one hour of programming on Fox News each day is up to twenty.

This, of course, does not mean that you won't find these companies' ads in every other Fox News program.  While voicing our opinions and putting economic pressure on the most irresponsible commentators is a most noble cause, this has the feeling of avoiding one rain puddle yet traipsing through 10 others to get from point A to B when all you have to do is cross the street and avoid puddles altogether.

Now, I'm not saying that this movement needs to come to a halt because of its futility.  In fact, if this helps to rally liberals behind one idea and cause it to move in the same direction, it will be nothing short of a minor miracle.

I have seen some of the e-mails that people have sent in to one of the many advertisers on Glenn Beck's program and, as a public service to those who want to continue their boycott and move it along to other programs who permit the most loopy/nutty notions to go out over the airwaves, I wanted to tell everyone what I see when I help filter out the "Glenn Beck" e-mails.  In addition, I have a couple of suggestions for catching the eye of those companies who you are trying to talk into joining the movement:

1)  While using the template provided by websites to gather your thoughts is a huge help (I've done this myself), copying the text verbatim or making minimal changes to the template serves to make your e-mail blend in to all of the others.  It also plugs a great big neon sign on your e-mail that says "hey, I just sent this because all of my fellow liberal buddies told me to".  It really fails to pack the punch you think it might.

2)  Please stop entitling your e-mails "Glenn Beck".  Some of the writers of recent e-mails have eschewed this generic subject line in favor of more emotional slogans (i.e. "Please stop wrongheaded advertising").  Instead of flagging a bunch of "Glenn Beck" e-mails and moaning about the mind-numbing volume, we readers have to actually read your e-mail to find out what you are talking about. Isn't that really why you are sending the e-mails so corporations have to read what you are saying?

3)  Spelling, grammar and punctuation count.  Though I'm as liberal as the next out gay man, I cringe at poor spelling, bad grammar, run-on sentences and poorly constructed thoughts.  If you are sending a protest e-mail, please read it through twice before hitting "Send". The more errors we find, the less seriously your e-mail will be considered.

Now that you know a little about what it's like to read your e-mails, I am now expecting more unique, better composed and overall smarter e-mails from everyone. 

Keep the cards and letters coming!

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