I would love to opt out of Plaxo, but i can’t. People send me Plaxo requests to *so* many email addresses. And i have zero desire to go through and do each one. Unlike Joi, my complaint is not about the amount of work i’m asked to do. Hell, every few months, i send a spam to my friends saying that i lost/broke some technology and need numbers again. (I actually have most people’s numbers, but this way i get updates, birthdays and catch people who don’t send me info in previous times.)
My complaint with Plaxo is multi-faceted. One branch of it comes down to a complete lack of trust. It’s not that i don’t think that the organization isn’t trying to be privacy-centric. It’s that i think that any mass collection of information is inherently vulnerable. Shall we talk subpoenas?
But, frankly, the main branch of my complaint comes down to the lack of intimacy. Almost everyone who has ever sent me a Plaxo request is someone that i barely know. They have my email address and they want everything else. Channeling a friend, i can’t help but scream in a British accent with an obscene gesture, “well, fuck off.” If i don’t recognize someone’s name, why should i give them stalker material? There are different emails for different purposes. For example, the word melopy is an anagram for employ. That’s the address for recruiters. If you only have that address, you have no right to more information.
Finally, there’s a respect issue. I *hate* mass emails, ad-hoc mailing lists (even when i guiltily create one once a year). Turn that behavior over to a company and i hate it ten times more. There’s nothing personal. And i have too much email as it is. I find it lacking all respect. I find it to be disrespectful of my time, my privacy, my attention and me as a person. Anyone who sends me a Plaxo request falls deep into my pit of disrespect because they’re not being considerate of me.
Of course, i’ve come up with my own solution for this. When i get a Plaxo request, i always go and update my information. I remove as much as possible. And i change my address to a personalized address that goes directly to /dev/null. If the person is particularly unfamiliar (i.e. the melopy people), i will give them something fun like firstname.lastname@example.org. This has dramatically reduced the number of Plaxo messages.