Licensed to spam 25k people

For a few years I’ve been a subscriber to The Listserve. It’s an opt-in email subscription, where each day a randomly selected subscriber gets to share whatever they want via email to the entire group.

Most emails begin with the sender saying they never thought they’d be selected. And I can relate with this thought. It was a year ago today, I sent my message to the massive group.

I had a few rough ideas which I might want to send if I was ever selected. But something else entirely was was on my mind that day.

Following is the message I sent – Wed, May 28, 2014 at 1:02 PM.

Subject: [The Listserve] RUOKday:

New Year’s Day is supposed to be a celebration, a reflection, a hope for things to improve.

From this year on, I will always remember the 1st of January as the day our family friend’s 15 year old son took his own life.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. His loving family is left with no answers, except that perhaps he is no longer suffering in silence.

News travels fast on social networks. Within a week the boy’s Facebook page lit up with thousands of posts, each one from someone in similar disbelief sharing how much they loved him, and will dearly miss him.

He couldn’t have known how wide and deep his network extends.

When someone who is loved and very popular, seemingly happy with life, and always up for an adventure, decides something is troubling him so much he can’t seek help, what chance do others have?

I know I hugged my sons extra tightly when I heard the tragic news. It was an upsetting and tough conversation to then have with them about why it happened. But it’s an awareness that’s helpful they have.

I tried to make it clear, if they’re ever struggling with life there is always someone to talk to. We can overcome all of life’s problems, no matter how big they seem.

Do all our other family, friends, colleagues know they have someone to talk to when they feel down about life?

There is an awareness programme based on this unusual email subject line. They encourage people to ask “Are you OK?” They believe a conversation could change a life. I believe it also.

I do hope you’re OK.

Perhaps someone in your circle could benefit from hearing you want to know they’re OK too.

Warm regards

ryan.listserved[a t]
Dubai, UAE

P.S. Some coincidences are very interesting. Just before I was going to hit the send button on this message, I received today’s list serve message from Tim Rowberry. Not only do we happen to be sharing a post on the same sad topic, the ominous date he mentions as being his birthday, is mine also.

The ListServe lets you choose to add your contact details or not. Due to the point of my message, I wanted to be available for feedback.

In summary I received 19 emails, and 3 or 4 tweets in reply to my post. Overall the feedback was good. Some people shared their own related stories. Others just let me know they thought the email was good or important and that they had bought into the topic. And there were three messages which were completely psychotic – recommending Suicide, and outlining the environmental issues that will make sure nothing gets better for anyone. It takes all types to make the world.

Although I’ll never know what effect it will have on anyone, I’m glad I got the message out there. A conversation has every chance of being the start of something good.