Philosophy on Staying in Contact

I routinely request email addresses when I first encounter a person online (or I glean it from one’s profile) no matter what venue we meet on, so I can add a person to my contact list.  That will remind me where I met someone originally, as well as help me avoid duplicates, since some people change their online identities without notice.  I always am willing to give my contact information out (full name, email, phone number if necessary) before I expect it from others. 

Email is the only free, universal and most efficient way to stay in touch, provided people stick with the email addresses they give me or at least inform me when they change their preferred address.  Some well-established third-party web sites have come and gone (, for example) and many delete or have their profiles removed on a whim (Facebook is famous for this), so I simply don’t trust or rely upon them.  Even my email address is based on my own domain, so I have 100% control of the content and stability of my own communications.  Accordingly, I do everything in my power to avoid messaging people on other sites that force you to click several times just to read a message and force you to struggle to figure out who I am when I would rather that you not consider me an enigma. Ideally we would only have to check for messages in one place – our email inboxes.  I hope my contacts understand, therefore, that if they send me a third-party message and we’ve exchanged email addresses before, I will almost always respond via email. This is not to frustrate people but hopefully to massage them into contacting me in the place where we are most likely to find each other’s message most efficiently.

Generally the people who I add to my contact list who live far from me I try to touch base with at least on their birthdays (if I know it) and during the holiday season to make sure that their emails are working and to check in and see if they are still interested in staying in touch.  Some people have asked to stay in touch more often, so I include them on periodic email updates of my life and web site which would not be more than once a month.  Obviously I am more inclined to contact people in the area I live in if I am having a party or think they might be interested in some cultural events that I plan to attend. I ask people to please give me some indication of how often they would like to hear from me or if they desire the frequency to be changed.  I would, of course, try to email you if I’m traveling to your area and hope you do the same if you get to the mine (the San Francisco area).  I can only hope that others will find me interesting enough to keep me in their address books as well.  I consider it an honor and affirmation of a willingness to stay in touch, particularly if they are diligent about backing up their data the way I do. You can rest assured that I write everyone from a lifelong email address that I’ve already had for many years.

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