I know how she does it

I have an acquaintance who seems to be a powerhouse of activism. She’s always sending me emails about local events, petitions to be signed, protests, worthy documentaries to watch and so on. To be honest, sometimes she just makes me feel tired. How does she do it all?

Today she forwarded me something about a consultation that needed an urgent response. The email said  that I should click on a link, “download the document” and “fill it in, which won’t take long”.

I clicked on the link. There was no document. I sent the webmaster some feedback asking where on earth the document was. I followed some other links on the webpage I’d arrived at. I still couldn’t find anything to fill in, but I did manage to find contact details for the people managing the consultation. I sent them an email as my response to the consultation.

Then, after about half an hour of this rather irritating effort, I got back to my acquaintance, ccing in the original writer of the email, and told them about the problems. I suggested they either supply the correct link for this difficult-to-find document or reword the email to explain that people will have to write a response in email or letter form.

My acquaintance rather guiltily responded that she hadn’t actually checked the link before forwarding it. Bingo! Now I think I know how she does it. She doesn’t do it. She just forwards messages about it and expects other people to do it. Yet again I am reminded: don’t mistake email activity for actual activity, and please don’t assume that people who demand your time are willing to give theirs. Sometimes they’re demanding yours as a substitute for giving theirs.

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