Today I’m closing Green Ruby. That newsletter, started on february 2013, has been a self-imposed weekly duty for more than 4 years. I take a lot of pride not to have missed one single week during those 225 weeks.
But now that we decided, my friends and I, to put it to an end, there is an interesting question popping up. What will happen with the list of 2,000 subscribers?
It’s common knowledge that nowadays, when you don’t pay for a service, you are the product. But honestly, I hate this statement, however relevant it may be. It eludes any possibility of generosity, and any chance to enjoy a gift economy. Open source software is an example of this. You don’t pay for it, but by using it, you are not used as an asset or a resource.
So as a symbolic gesture of rebellion, I decided that, by ending the publication, I will delete the list of subscribers. Forever.
I always felt raped when I subscribe to a service under a certain context, and then the service provider gets acquired by another company and my account gets automatically transferred. The contract changes, I have agreed to the initial setup, but why presume I would automatically agree to any other context? This is the real annoyance in that user-as-a-product thing. You are not considered as a thinking being anymore.
I hate this!
So the deletion of that list of email is a symbolic sacrifice. Why did you invest all that time and effort during those 4 years then, will you ask me? Well, I was willing to contribute to a common interest, out of generosity and love for my peers and friends. Why should I need a money-related reason? Money kills the social link, it neutralize the unmeasurable debt that we establish between each others as a community.
A society without generosity, is a society of isolated people. Gifts creates a feeling of debt, that debt is a bond. If the gift is not personal, it relates you to a community. Never forget about it. Pay it forward.