Dear Fellow Traveler,
Talk came up around the metaphorical Planet Waves water cooler the other day as to whether our readers consider themselves "members" or "subscribers." It was a pretty heated debate, but since we all work in different states (and in one case, a different continent), no one ended up with a paper cup of water to the face (can that be done on Facebook yet? If it can, please let us know; some of us are feeling frisky).
Eric in particular was curious to get a little insight into our readers' psyches and involve them more directly in the inner workings of Planet Waves. We had recently experimented with a new style of promo (written by yours truly) that had gotten very mixed (and in some cases heated) responses. We realized it would be helpful to know not only why
our current subscribers initially took the plunge, but also how they think of themselves in relation to Planet Waves. We finally decided to ask our readers directly whether they consider themselves "members" or "subscribers," and found respondents pretty much split down the middle.
"I prefer the word Subscriber rather than Member because I "subscribe" to what you have to say," said one.
"Would I prefer to be a member? Probably yes. I feel more that I belong here, than I subscribe. And if I belong, then I am a member of this particular family," countered another.
We poked around a little further. Surely the balance would start to tip one way or the other, right? One person took a more academic approach:
"I personally view myself as a subscriber. That taking an action is required. That I am under the scribe, supporting."
While we like the idea of support here at Planet Waves, we really don't think of our readers as "under" us. A few of us thought maybe member really would feel better. But wait -- in that next comment -- do we see indications of classism?
"The idea of member is rather exclusive - there will be non-members, and the human drive to belong is utilized so often in corporate advertising. Being a member is rather elitist."
Uh oh, we thought. We are SO not about being corporate and elitist! Quickly we jumped to the next response:
"My preference is to be considered a member. I know it is just words but it makes me feel more a part of things."
Whoa -- the idea of "member" is both inclusive and exclusive? This started to tip the team's scales back to "subscriber," until one reader wrote, "That word sounds so clinical."
Okay, folks, here's the thing: We want you to feel included, welcomed, appreciated, and invested. We want you to pay for our products and services because it takes a lot of time, human energy, and resources to get beautiful, accessible, accurate astrology into your hands in a form you can actually use. And we really do want you to use it as you grow into your highest potential. We're all feeling a little roughed up by a world gone bezerk and, as one reader put it on the phone, this sense that no one we know feels quite like themselves; no one feels quite whole.
However we might feel, we may have to invent our own term for the people who recognize the value of what we're doing; those who recognize the value to the point that they are happy to share some of their hard-earned cash with us in return for our hard-won tools and insights that we offer. In fact, we've already had a suggestion for that term: Oorts. As in, the denizens of the Oort Cloud, that bit of outer solar system real estate from which comes the Hale-Bopp comet.
While we at Planet Waves do tend to feel like we're on the edge of new spiritual-journalistic-artistic territory, personally I'm not sold on Oorts. Do you have any idea how far away that cloud is? We're far more accessible than that!
In fact, here's one of our most accessible offers. We'll give you a one month trial subscription to Astrology News for free.
Just click here
to sign up.
Whether you feel like a "subscriber" or a "member" after you make the transaction, one thing is sure: you're likely to find yourself in company you'll keep for years to come, and not out of a sense of obligation or pressure.
And if you happen to come up with a new name for what to call you, we promise not to splash you with water, honest. Even if Facebook does come up with "Watercoolerville."
Yours & truly,