About a year ago I received a request on my personal Facebook account to reconnect with a person from high school who I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I was very happy to hear from her, so I of course accepted her friend request right away. I then sent her a message telling her it was great to be reconnected and asking her what she’d been up to.

I didn’t get any reply to my message, but I did start receiving emails from her about her Avon business.

At first, I didn’t know how I’d been added to anyone’s Avon mailing list, so I just deleted the first one without even looking to see what is was.

The second time it happened I actually opened the email and scrolled to the bottom to unsubscribe. It was then that I saw the name of this person from high school who I’d “friended” on Facebook. She, apparently, got my email address from my Facebook information and just added me to her mailing list. She didn’t ask or even tell me she wanted to add me. She just did it.

After I finished unsubscribing from her mailing list, and then reporting her as a spammer to Avon, I “unfriended” her on Facebook.

This may not be a big deal to many, but I simply do not like this.

This has also happened with my cell phone number. On four different occassions, I had to ask to be removed from “distro-texts.” One person was texting me weekly to remind me to listen to his radio show, which I never listened to in the first place. The other three people were sending “inspirational” texts.

Yes, these are all harmful, but the common denominator is that I didn’t ask to be sent this information. All four times, I thought it was just a one-time thing, so I didn’t immediately ask to be removed. I think that encouraged more texts. I finally texted them all and asked not to receive their information.

It’s not that I don’t want to be inspired and/or informed. It’s that I want to have a choice!

The worst email I ever received was from a chick who wrote, and I’m paraphrasing, “I know you might not know me, but because some idiot (her word, not mine) you know doesn’t know how to use blind CC, I got your email in an email that was sent to me, so I added you to my mailing list…” I wanted to be mad at her, but she was just taking advantage of the situation. When I emailed her and asked not to receive anything else from her, she 100% complied. I’ve never heard from her again.

It probably wouldn’t bother me so much if I hadn’t made a deliberate and conscious decision to never, never, never add people to any of my mailing lists without asking first. I generate tons of content all over the web, and it’s tempting to just send what I think is my amazing writing to every name in my address book, but it’s just not good manners.

Having said all that, let me repeat my recent tweet: “Y’all, please, if I give you my cell number or my email, please don’t put me on your distribution lists without asking me first, please. I know you mean well, but I get enough texts and emails as it is. I’d like to have a choice before I receive more.”

I said “please” three times. That has to count for something. 😉