Technology is a great asset to any writer. As someone who toiled over a typewriter in the early years of my career, using carbon paper to produce two copies of the same document and white-out to cover up mistakes, having access to a computer is a godsend. (I will admit I was wary initially, as saving and sending seemed a lot less reliable than delivering actual pieces of paper.)
Now, to the meat of the matter. As the world has become more computerized, personalization is all the rage. Instead of receiving junk mail addressed to occupant, it now sports our names, which may be repeated within the copy, i.e., "Adrienne, you may be our next million-dollar winner!" Online offers are tailored to our past purchases and/or "likes." And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I don't really mind personalization, as I'm much more likely to use a coupon from a store like DSW or Sephora than one from a place that sells fishing tackle. So, why craft this blog about too much personalization? Read on.
I'm writing this on August 1, the first day of the month in which I was born. Late last week, I received my first birthday deal via mail from a store I frequent. Today, I found a handful of online birthday deals in my in-box. None of these emails actually offers a gift (i.e., something free), but the sentiment is nice, and since the offers of savings come from places where I've bought before, there's a good chance I'll take advantage of some of them.
Where does the over-personalization occur? While August is my birthday month, I didn't come into the world until its last day--which is 30 days from now. Would you send someone birthday greetings a month before their special day? I think not, because it would be perceived that you didn't know the exact date to celebrate.
Thus, while these birthday offers are well intended, since I'm receiving them so far in advance of my birthday, it makes them feel less personal. It's pretty clear that on the first of each month (or even a few days before in the case of mailed items), a computer spits out a list of everyone with a birthday within those 29, 30 or 31 days and bulk emails or mailings are generated. They might look personal, but in reality they aren't.
Happy birthday to me--much later this month.