Tagged: PDFs must die

Dear Artists & Art Publicists: Let me help you do your job.

Don’t make me do it. (Photo by badjonni.)

All right. I’ve had it. It seems that just about everybody with a working e-mail account has seen fit to blast the digital universe with promotional messages laden with bandwidth-guzzling attachments. Everyday, I get dozens of e-mails with PDFs and Word documents and high-res JPGS. And all I gotta say is, for the sake of speedy internet access everywhere, STOP RIGHT NOW. An explanation:

  1. Attachments: When you send your precious press release as an attachment and not as in-message text, here’s what happens: I gotta download it. I gotta open it. I gotta eat up precious memory on my creaky freelancer laptop to discover that some genius artist is recontextualizing the meaning of ‘other.’ In other words, you’re wasting my time. And on days when I’m cranky, it means I don’t open the attachments. I just delete your e-mail and think you’re a hoser.
  2. Stop it with the PDFs Already: For fuck’s sake, it’s a press release, not a last will and testament. When I’m done with it, it’s gonna be used as avian toilet paper in the cage of my pet parrot, Polly. Save the 1500KB worth of memory and send me an in-message text. I’ll be far more likely to read it. If you’re really cool, it’ll include direct links to the event you’re promoting. (See item #4 on this list.)
  3. Photos: If you want to send me photos, don’t. Get a Flickr account. Upload them. Send me the links. If you don’t want the world to see them, set them on private and generate a special URL for viewing. There are other ways to manage photographs — other than spamming the world’s servers with them. If you don’t know what any of this means, talk to the nerds in IT about options. Seriously, those freaks know what they’re doing.
  4. Links: They work. Try them. If you’re e-mailing about a particular exhibit, how awesome would it be if you sent a link to that exhibit. Or, if you’re a PR agency, how awesome would it be if you sent a link to the exhibit you’re promoting, rather than a (useless) link to your agency’s corporate website.  Thinking about sending a PDF with web addresses buried in the text? See item #1 on this list.
  5. HTML: If you’re all hell-bent on some fancy looking communique with embedded images, may I introduce you to the low-res world of HTML. There are easy-to-use services, such as iContact, for this. Ask around.

That’s all for today’s Welcome to the New Millennium tutorial.

Thanks for your continued support.