What about Semi-Spam?
Ok, Ok, Owen Thomas will likely read this and think I'm being bitter or haughty or nasty again or whatever. (Qualities ValleyWag knows nothing about of course!) But amid the discussion about Facebook and Twitter needing spam control, how are we defining spam? Because a lot of business folks (especially Valley ones) borderline-abuse these services for business gains. Ultimately, I guess it's in the eye of the follower. I like when bloggers I follow Twitter-tease new entries because I don't have all day to go between blogs. But I can't help but feeling "spammy" when I do it.
And, like, I know there's a "Jason Nation" and all that's apparently such a force it needs a logo. So clearly those people like endless Calacanis "COMMENT ON THIS PHOTO OF MY BULLDOGS NOW" missives. But does everyone?
Then, there are PR people, many of whom feel it's not their pitches and relentlessness that's the problem but the medium. So they take the same messaging-- chock full of words like "leading provider" and "world class"-- and flit from email to IM to Facebook to Facebook chat to Twitter etc. I was doing an interview for a podcast aimed at PR folks a while back and they asked how PR people should use Facebook, Twitter, et all to pitch me. And I said, they shouldn't. The single best way to pitch me is still email. The moderator, I guess thinking I didn't understand the question, said, "Well, but you probably check Twitter or Facebook more right?" First off, I don't. But if I did, do you think that means I want endless pitches for you lame client cluttering up what's supposed to be a spot to communicate with my friends and loved ones?
As I put it
then, the problem when I don't respond to an email pitch isn't that I
didn't read it, it's that I wasn't interested. Spamming me in every
media isn't going to make your pitch better. PR people would do better
to follow the model of the best firms in the industry, in my mind Brew,
Outcast and Spark, and build relationships with reporters, find out
what they want to cover, and, oh, I don't know maybe what cities they live in and what their first names are.
I interviewed Tony Hsieh from Zappos (ZAPPOS!) the other day for Tech Ticker (Footage next week I think. Start getting excited now, Zappos nation!) Zappos seems to be the best company at wisely leveraging Twitter as this surprise Twitter party they threw at Medjool shows. (The ink is *almost* off my hands two days later, Tony....why permanent marker?) At any rate, I asked Tony about his secrets and he said something similar: That it wasn't about Twitter, it was about a certain mindset towards your customers. If you don't have that no social media is going to magically make you a marketing wizard.
It was so similar to what I told the PR folks that it made me think this is increasingly going to be a problem across all businesses as everyone tries to figure out how to "LEVERAGE" social media for marketing purposes-- and likely doesn't spend enough time looking at the holes in their current strategy.
It's not outright spam, but it feels the same. And because it's so gray, this could be a far bigger problem for the industry.
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