Famous Last Words: Falling on Deaf Eyes
Obviously the new e-mail political fundraising model is highly successful; Dean and Kerry raised a ton of money. But as a donor, I am not made to feel special. And, people like Kerry and the super rich (by marriage into the ketchup family) Mrs. Heinz-Kerry who do not say thank you for $500 (or $5 or $50 or $5,000) are, frankly, déclassé.
I read Richard A. Clarke’s “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror,” and have come to the conclusion that part of the reason Clarke’s dire warnings of imminent terrorist attacks did not register with the Bush administration people was his reliance on e-mail.
E-mail is the lazy person’s communication medium. Banging out a quick message and firing it off to your address list is too easy. It arrives amidst a barrage of other messages including jokes, memos, spam, sales pitches, dinner invitations and inane notes from relatives. What’s more, unless your recipients print out your e-mail, they are tied to the computer screen where your correspondence is one click away from oblivion. In my opinion, long e-mails fall on deaf eyes.
Only in rare instances do I e-mail an important document. When I do, it goes as a PDF file, which formalizes it and casts it in electronic concrete. But for the most part, I will create a memo, a copy deck and/or a four-color artist’s comp., print it out and mail or FedEx it. Yes, it takes a bit more time. But when it arrives on crisp, bright paper, it says Denny Hatch means business. Further, it offers the recipient the opportunity to step away from the computer, settle into a chair with a cup of coffee, and contemplate what is written and make notes in the margin.
Like saying thank you, it’s the polite thing to do.