THE NEW YORK POST
By ANNA DAVID October 2, 2007 — IT’S a typical day, and I’m starting to sift through my pile of e-mail when I’m suddenly assaulted by a note from someone I’ve met twice. Her “years of Method acting classes” have paid off, the e-mail excitedly informs me. She’s going to have three lines on “Grey’s Anatomy” next week.
“McDreamy really was dreamy!” she exclaims, begging me to watch her debut and urge my friends to do the same.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of those kinds of e-mails. You know the ones. They’re inviting you to show up at a play, buy a book, forward a YouTube video or simply read an article that prominently features whomever sent it to you. The “me-mail” has become de rigueur for anyone out there selling himself (and who isn’t?)
They range from the innocuous (“Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see me perform stand-up next week!”) to the obnoxious (“In case you can’t get to your Hollywood Reporter today, yours truly is featured in the Next Generation piece!”) and everything in between.
Last year, I met a guy at a party who asked for my e-mail address. He wasgreen-eyed and square-jawed, and I gave what I hoped was a sexy smile as I supplied the information, eagerly anticipating a date. But when I heard from him – weeks later – it was only because he’d placed me on a group e-mail list that explained when he was next going to be appearing on Home & Garden Television.
And I’m just as guilty of me-mailing, sending out newsletters when my book came out earlier this year. I got back a few obligatory-sounding replies (“How great for you” said one; “You sure sound busy!” trilled another) and dead silence from the rest.
I can’t say I blame them.
“Before I’ve even finished reading one of those, my mind begins formulating an excuse as to why I can’t go,” says Phil Mittleman, a venture capitalist.
But what about the ones that simply ask you to do something you’re not actually going to be accountable for – such as watch someone’s appearance on “Tyra” or – sigh – buy their book?
“I think those people are essentially just using the group e-mail as a chance to brag,” says Mittleman. “In the back of their minds, they may think they’re somehow benefiting their careers, but that really is beyond moronic.”
Like many high-tech issues, the etiquette has yet to be worked out.
For instance, one time I clicked on the safe-looking “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of a never-requested newsletter, and the acquaintance who had sent it immediately e-mailed asking why I didn’t want to hear from her. Whoops!
NBC executive C.J. Arabia once sent out an e-mail party invitation and forgot to use the handy bcc option. E-mail chaos ensued.
“One of my friends jacked my contacts and put this guy he met through me on his regular mailing list,” says Arabia. “My friend asked him to stop sending him invitations to comedy shows he had no interest in going to, and the guy just responded with a link where he could remove himself from the sign-up list on his Web site.”
Perhaps as a result, “I really just send mine to the friends that I know will be interested,” Arabia says. “I don’t want to be that person whose e-mails are deleted before they’re even read.”
Still, there’s at least one person out there who doesn’t want to toss the computer across the room when he’s invited to see a friend of a friend perform Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, or when he’s asked to forward a video to everyone he knows.
“I actually find those e-mails cute,” says film producer Mike DeLuca. “I’m not sure they’re really necessary for professional reasons, but I’d like to think it helps the person sending them feel good.”