Listserve Post-mortem

November 16, 2013 by Quinlan Pfiffer

On November 2nd, 2013 I won the listserve lottery. If you don’t know anything about the listserve, it’s a daily newsletter where the writer is randomly selected from the subscribers. This is why the call it the lottery.

I must’ve signed up for the thing a couple of months ago, and the list consists of more or less 25,000 people. It’s kind of a wonder I won, considering the short period of time I’ve been subscribed.

Most of the emails on the listserve are semi-preachy life-lesson things, with a moral or a sob story or something. I decided I was sick of all of that so I threw together a nonsense haiku in a couple of minutes and sent it off:

Subject: Drink Your Orange Juice

A Giraffe can't lose
Have to go buy staplers
You're Standing on it

I thought nothing more of it and went on with my week. Friday, November 8th it went out. At around noon I checked my phone for email and general notifications, and was surprised to see 14 or so new emails in my inbox. I’m not that popular so it was kind of a shock.

Since November 8th I have received (in response):

  • 38 Emails from different people
    • Of these emails, about a quarter liked the email address I used, shithouse@goatse.cx.
    • Some where genuinely confused by the haiku and demanded answers
    • A handful of people congratulated me
    • One guy sent three seperate pictures of Jesus
  • Two twitter users (or more) tweeted the poem
  • One enterprising guy found me on twitter and sent me a picture of a giraffe
  • Three or four people said it was top five listserve material

As far as traffic goes, nothing really changed. It seems some people were more than content to take the haiku at face value and move on with their lives.

What do I take away from this? People will look for meaning anywhere, and they genuinely seem to enjoy diversity. Or something. Really I sent a haiku to a ton of people and thats awesome.