Back in November, I received a newsletter in my email inbox. I probably signed up to receive these emails back when I thought 0.05% off $500 dollars was a good deal, so I read and deleted it, thinking that would be it for a while. Later that same week, another newsletter from the same store came in for a different set of deals. This time, I deleted it again but was both a little annoyed and a little surprised that they had sent two emails in the same week after a six month hiatus. That next weekend, I received a third email for a different set of deals! At this point, I was fairly annoyed for two reasons: one, I remember signing up the year before for that measly discount but only for the once a month frequency and two, it made me realize just how many unopened emails I had in my inbox. On top of the junk mail, there was last week’s actual news still to be read, some satire news still needing to be laughed at, a couple of order confirmations and tracking numbers for items that I already received, and many more.
Email, as outdated as the concept may seem, is still the backbone of modern communication. Chances are, email is not your go-to method for daily communication, making it even easier for companies to use it as a data dump. But at the same time, things like password reset links, eStatements, or acceptance letters most likely won’t be sent by text message. The fact of the matter is that email is still one of the more secure methods of communication. It’s our digital key to reset just about everything else.
With that said, email shouldn’t be a place where advertisers have a direct link to your pocket. It should be a place where only the services you’ve signed up for get to you and the advertisements are filtered in an unobtrusive manner. I made some changes to my email settings and since then, the number of companies sending me ads and distracting me from my important emails has dropped to basically nothing, while the ones I care about are filtered into a particular folder for whenever I have time to take a peak.
In the end, nothing is more important than privacy, which was a lesson hard-learned. To this day, the Prince of Nigeria is still asking me for help with transferring funds. As annoying as these emails are, there is nothing I can do to stop receiving them. For these reasons, take a moment and reflect on whether adding your email address to that mailing list is really necessary, because you don’t know where it could end up.
Student Social Media Intern
1st Nor Cal Credit Union