Last week I posted “It’s a jungle out there: words of caution for negotiating social media“, an article with my recommendations about using social media wisely and courteously. What spurred me to write it were some unpleasant and fortunately isolated experiences with shameless marketers on social media sites.
I noted the irony when yesterday I received an email from someone I’d recently connected with on one of those sites. The message read as follows:
You are among the many contacts of [name omitted]. Before we begin sending you any information, we want to be certain we have your permission.
CONFIRM BY VISITING THE LINK BELOW:
Click the link above to give us permission to send you information. It’s fast and easy!
I was first baffled and then annoyed. I wrote back to the sender asking for more details about the content I’d be receiving. They replied, assuring me it would contain news along with highlights from the sender’s blog. I wrote back again, asking for the RSS feed for the blog so that I could follow it with my newsreader if the content interested me. They wrote back and told me that the blog didn’t in fact exist yet. No thanks, friend.
I realized that perhaps the contact settings on this particular account weren’t explicit enough. I added the following information in the hopes that this will deter similar communications going forward:
I am delighted to connect with others online. Social media make it possible to build relationships and forge alliances that transcend geography and time zones.
Please be aware though that my interest in connecting does not extend to receiving solicitations from you for services or goods that you or those you serve as agent for offer. Also, I am not interested in being added to your newsletter list; I get enough email as it is, thanks. If you publish a blog you think might interest me, you can let me know. I’m a blogger myself.
If you do not honor these simple requests, I will have no choice but to decline your invitation or to delete your connection from my account. I regret that I must even post this message at all, but unfortunately I’ve encountered a number of people using social media for persistent and unwelcome sales pitches and not for networking. I am grateful for your understanding and look forward to connecting with those who share my appreciation for building relationships distinguished by integrity and trust.
I’ve added a version of this notice to my social media page on this site as well. Against all odds, I remain hopeful that at last folks will begin to get the message.