Friday, June 16, 2006

Friendly Advice

Surprise number one for a blogger: you get on mailing lists without asking to. The first couple times it’s surprising, then it’s amusing, then it’s “What else is new.”

Usually being on a mailing list means getting the same press releases everyone else on the media list. Sometimes a really skilled internet outreach person – a CJ Gaffney or a Jesse Taylor – will send emails that catch the blogger vibe.

But occasionally I get emails that pretend to be chatty and personal and singular, but on closer inspection look for all the world like form letters. You can almost see the places where they drop in the information particular to the recipient:

Dear Pho:

We really like Pho’s Akron Pages. It’s an excellent addition to the Northeast Ohio blogosphere.


It happened again today. I sent the email in question around to my fellow NEO bloggers and indeed most of them had gotten an identical email saying how superspecial their respective blogs were. It could have been worse; in primary season I got an email saying how much candidate X’s family enjoyed my blog and would I please add to my blogroll . . . a blog I had added a month earlier. Busted.

In this case, the group in question is one I support – in fact I spoke at one of their meetings last summer. So no worries. We’re all new to the medium, all figuring out how to best communicate with each other. It’s a fundamental theme of the Ryan Lizza piece about YearlyKos.

But here’s the friendly advice – if you are sending out a mass email, let it look like a mass email. We bloggers are an understanding bunch, but we have hypersensitive bullshit detectors. And we talk to each other. And we are all a bit sensitive to the "Love your blog!" entreaty because we've all read it before in comment spam. Even if you aren't trying to steer traffic to Male Enhancement Blog, the damage is done.

So be what you are: A progressive organization trying to reach out to bloggers. If you actually read my blog, great. If you don't, also fine. I make an independent determination about requests to blogroll me. Unless you blogroll me first in which case I lay down like a seaport hooker (and the aforementioned candidate had a blogroll that didn't include The Pages. Way bad form.)

I get lots of email, but not so much that you have to go all "You may already have won!!!" to get my attention.


Jill said...

THANK YOU for saying this.