I was outed a few months ago by a fellow “influencer” in the digital space (if you can call me that). I’d committed a mortal sin by his estimation. He was “devastated” and “disappointed.” He did it publicly. He shamed me.

I unsubscribed from his newsletter.

Never mind I subscribe to his blog via RSS and the content is seldom different. Never mind that I occasionally share his content with my network. Never mind that I often mention him as a person worth following in the social space.

The original sin of digital marketing?Then, it happened again. I unsubscribed from the newsletter of a popular marketing organization. Their marketing manager almost immediately emailed me, asking what was wrong, what they had done to upset me and how she could “win me back.”

Never mind that I subscribe to the organization’s blog which is largely the same content. Never mind that I share its content with my network, even more than occasionally. Never mind that I’ve partnered with the organization as both a consultant and a speaker.

I committed the original sin of digital marketing: I unsubscribed.

Amused by the reactions, I simply reminded them that I still love them, subscribe to their content in a different channel and simply wanted to unclutter my inbox. One of the aforementioned seem to understand and forgive, if not apologize for jumping to conclusions. The other hasn’t said a single word to me since. I suppose that one is still personally insulted.

But here’ the thing … No one should ever shame you for controlling your online life any more than they should for living your offline one. Never mind that I still subscribe to these two content sources – that’s not the point, even if it completely defeats their argument against me. Even if I had decided their content was not serving my needs any longer, it’s my inbox. It’s my experience. It’s mine.

There are far to many ways to get our content for us to assume an unsubscribe is a bad thing. What if they were simply changing email addresses? What if they were re-routing everything to Feed.ly or similar?

Perhaps you reach out to unsubscribers. But are you jumping to conclusion when you do? Are there other methods they could be receiving your content? And who the hell are any of us to whine to them about leaving?

Food for thought.

P.S. – I still subscribe to Grumpy Butt and Sensitive Sally’s stuff. Even if they are a bit on the paranoid side. Heh.

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