August 24, 2021•479 words
I tend to make too much of relatively trivial things. It's a mindset thing, so I am not going to bore you with why. Instead, let me bore you with a brief discourse about the most mundane tool in the Digital Diet's arsenal:
The ability to unsubscribe is tempered by the phantom Fear of Missing Out. I've remained on lists in hopes that the content would someday be life-changing. I've stayed in forums to nurture imaginary relationships. Bah! Unsubscribe.
Shiny Object Syndrome
Since impulse purchasing is the root cause of many of these subscriptions, isn't it reasonable to assume that the shine has worn off of many subscriptions? Unread PDFs, outdated plug-ins and forgotten Udemy Courses (only 9.00 apiece, but that's 99.00 I'll never get back.) Unsubscribe.
If you're not a blogger or social media amplifier, you may not know about Social Proof's baby sister. You can read about her here and here (where you can tl;dr straight to the interesting conclusion of the study.) Personally, I found reciprocity to be a bit one-sided. It's probably due to the filtering effect that occurred when bloggers repeated what they thought was the intent of reciprocity.
Much like the old game of Telephone, the message of social reciprocity morphed into "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." I'm basing this on the 4-year difference between the two links above. In essence, I believe that reciprocity went from a gift that kept on giving, to a whiny, privileged-based expectation.
Having bought into the wronger version of the concept of reciprocity, I am not surprised at the abysmal ROI. I'm waving the magic wand to make them all disappear. Unsubscribe.
Identity = Accountability
As an aside, I do believe that identity plays a role in reciprocity. If you find a 20.00 bill on the street, you certainly don't feel the need to drop one of your own bills in return. (This is not to be confused with paying it forward, which dictates that you do something nice for someone else.) However, if your friend hands you twenty bucks to get you out of a potentially embarrassing situation, you'll probably feel a strong urge to repay the favor at some point.
This means that when someone interacts on your blog or your social media, you're probably going to feel a twinge if you don't reciprocate. But, at the end of the day, you two are likely just a pair of random ships, passing each other. If you are more than that, then reciprocity follows social norms, obviously. And by social norms, I mean this.