Since the last time I wrote on poor marketing another really bad use of data has landed in my mailbox.
The state representative for this area of Massachusetts sent me a “Happy Birthday” postcard. Why? I have never met this man. Despite his picture on the card, I wouldn’t know him if I tripped over him. He certainly has never met me. Furthermore, I have never voted for him. As I am sure he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me, a birthday card (with his picture on it) seems a little weird.
It is also another creepy instance of data use. Why would my state rep have any need to know my birthday? I realize accessing personal details about anyone these days is a simple matter of a few clicks, but why remind me of it?
If Mr. Puppolo wants to keep in touch and show me that he is my hard-working rep in Boston, then leave my personal details out of it. My birthday has zero to do with his job. How about sending me a post card listing the important bills that are up for review in the House? Give a two sentence summary of each one and include contact info so that if I feel strongly about any of them, I can easily get in touch. Make it easy for me to know what is going on in Boston.
Now that would be an appropriate post card and not in the least creepy. It would give the impression that Mr. Puppolo understands his job as State Representative. Instead, all he has shown with his Happy Birthday is that he buys into trendy ideas (use data!) without thinking them through (what is the point?/the creep factor.) Oh, and he spends money (most likely my tax money) on useless things. Buying into trendy ideas without thinking is not a good trait for a representative. Neither is spending my money on useless things.
So what has his Happy Birthday accomplished? Made me resolved that voting for his opponent in the next election is probably a good idea – which I am sure is not the aim of his Happy Birthday Campaign.