I was at the California Democratic Party's annual convention in Anaheim over the weekend, and it seemed like everybody I ran into knew what I was up to. I can thank Facebook in part for that, but it's also my email list.
Since adopting NationBuilder four years ago, I've made it a habit to email out at least every couple of months to my core contacts. What I'm up to, an opportunity to share, an event I'm doing. It's always a subset of my total email contacts, and a smaller group opens and and even smaller group clicks through to the various links I post in my emails. I try to keep the emails short, and tell the whole story in the subject line.
I'm on the mailing lists of a few friends. I don't read everything they send me, but their content is good and I like being reminded they're out there, doing it. I like seeing their names in my inbox.
The newest communications tools are always filtering on behalf of the user - you don't open my emails, they start going into some spot far below the top of your inbox. You don't interact with my Facebook posts, they diminish in your feed.
My job is to keep engaging. To put my hand out there, my email out there, ask you to like my new Facebook page. (I don't do that on behalf of clients - they've got to ask their friends.)
I consider keeping an email list up one of the most important things I've done to maintain a presence over the past four years. For the past three, I'd been largely operational at my tech startup, not getting the kind of face time with my far-flung community as I'd had as a journalist and then a regular on the OpenGov speaking circuit. But like this recent lull, I did a six year stint at the City Attorney's Office in SF where my work kept me low profile. So I started blogging again, tweeting and doing things outside of work to keep up a presence, a network.
If everyone did this I guess we'd all get really tired of our inboxes and Facebook feeds. But it's how to stand out. It's how to remain at mind. This weekend folks I hadn't talked to in years were quick to say they knew I'd launched a new site, it had great photos, they knew I'd started a business, and what's it do, anyway. Those conversations made me glad I've kept activating that email list.