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2012 Email is Your Best Friend? Sad Boyfriend? Lost Aunt?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 28 2011

If you're on Barack Obama's email list, you've probably noticed how many of his subject lines seem highly familiar. "Put this on your car," "Frustrated," "This is actually pretty cool," and "How this dinner thing works," are all recent examples of subject lines the campaign has used. No doubt these subjects have been tested in advance and scored highly for open rates, but the treacly tone has led MentalFloss.com to make a quiz testing your ability to distinguish these real subject lines with messages "from my aunt," and Atlantic senior editor Garance Franke-Ruta has now piped up with a funny post comparing Obama to a "plaintive boyfriend worried about trying to save the relationship."

We'll keep an eye on whether those subject lines change in tone, but in the meantime--and in the interest of equal time--it might be worth nothing that Mitt Romney's email subject lines can get a bit plaintive too. "Who will you bring?" is the title of one he sent out yesterday, asking supporters to join in a contest whose winner(s) will get to travel with him for a day on the campaign trail. "Heads up" was the title of a recent email from his son Josh, and before that I got "Will you be my guest for a day in New Hampshire" and "Join me for a day on the road."

Seems like both sides are working to buddy up to voters, or at least crack open their emails, with messages that tone down the politics and try to play up a personal angle.