By now you’re probably well and truly over this whole GDPR debacle.
For those of you living under a rock these last few months, you may have noticed your email inbox swamped with messages regarding confirming your privacy and security details. The European government has placed some stringent requirements as to how information is collected, stored and used by companies of its European residents. The fines for the misuse of this information are high such as $2million which sent everyone into a panic to ensure they become GDPR compliant.
Out of interest, I was reading into this some time ago and was horrified to learn that this includes bloggers like myself. A blanket, worldwide regulation meant that I had to immediately look at how I was collecting information from people through my two email databases. One is for people who would like to receive emails whenever blog posts are published and the other for my monthly Activate My Learning newsletter.
Prior to GPDR the numbers of my database were about 199 and 450 respectively. I had collected these over a few years of consistent blogging and sharing of tips, tools and techniques in my newsletter.
The reason I started the database was that I know that many people don’t use RSS Feeds and still heavily rely on email to get their information.
It’s simply a fact of life that people are still relatively unaware or lack the knowledge how to filter information to come to them or maybe even the motivation to change their online habits (I think it’s the former frankly) away from email.
Content Marketers know this and prey on the fact that “Email is Still King” because they can get people to sign up and then blast them with their products and services as part of pushing them through a sales funnel. In fact, go to any content marketing site and see how much importance is being placed on email as the best way to market your products and services. That, or Facebook adverts (but Facebook and changes to their algorithms is another story for another time).
However, thankfully the GPDR is now changing this game completely. Maybe this is the WAKE UP call that everybody (including content marketers).
While many people lamented the inbox explosion of emails, I thought it was about time that someone did this. This is a game changer completely. Here’s an opportunity to sit up and take note about what information is being collected from you, what you’re willing to give away and what services you may not have signed up to.
In a way, I’m GLAD that Europe has done this. More so, it seems to have put the fear into everyone. Maybe that’s what we needed to shake the stupor and the comfort out of everyone?
As each email hit my inbox, I took some time to scan it and make an assessment:
- Did I sign up for this service/website originally?
- Do I still need this service?
- If yes, sign up.
- If no, ignore (depending on what the company asked me to do to ensure I didn’t want to be bothered by them again).
Personally, I had to update my two measly databases (quite small compared to everyone else’s standards) but this was a perfect opportunity to refine them and make sure that people who signed on were GENUINE about receiving them. At times I do wonder if anyone is actually reading my blog posts or newsletters because there’s very little feedback, conversations or sharing of blog posts. Part of me believes that people are overwhelmed with it all. When you’re bombasted with content from every platform, it’s easier to disengage, consume, lurk or when you’re totally sick of it, completely delete your accounts and go back to life without social media.
In my experience, I have friends who have done this in recent times willing to use the internet when they want but having said goodbye to all social networks and go back to a simpler life where communication was just email, voice calls or SMS (text messages).
So now, my databases for my blog posts numbers 159 and my newsletter 133. To me, they are people who are still interested in what I share so in a way, this exercise has shown me not only the importance of making sure we remain cognizant of how our information is collected but also realise that the action is in our hands.