So as you know, I used to work in the field of direct marketing - a niche of the marketing industry where living in grey areas is pretty much the norm. Direct marketing is the field where the general public doesn't know what you really do for a living, but once they do, you probably get as much grief as lawyers and IRS employees do at a dinner party. Incidentally, if you don't know, direct marketing is the use of physical or virtual mail, signage & advertising to promote commercial products and/or services to the general public. You know all those obnoxious flyers you get in the mail or "would you like to refinance your mortgage" emails you receive? Yup...those are all forms of direct marketing.
Anyway, my point in posting today wasn't to defend the direct marketing industry, but to bring up a huge point that seems to be a major disconnect between the general public and the marketing industry - specifically those in the direct marketing sub-niche. There is a HUGE difference between SPAM and junk - the two are NOT synonymous.
So, why the rant? Ok here goes: I practically live on LinkedIn - a social networking tool entirely for business professionals. There are no trivial posts here about "walked my dog today". This is entirely people just posting and connecting to increase their network and hopefully strike a few business deals & acquire clients in the process. Much like Facebook, they have targeted groups where you can connect with a specific set of people who supposedly share common interests with you. But lately, there seem to be a lot of people on LinkedIn who can't tell the difference between true SPAM and just a junk post that isn't relevant to them.
So by default, those messages aren't spam but junk mail. Why? Because it's not relevant to you but it's not technically unsolicited. To bring this back to LinkedIn...recently, there have been a number of business people who complain when someone in a group makes a post that simply outlines what they do because people feel it sounds too "pitchy" rather than being a "deep meaningful discussion". Suddenly, the poster is accused of "SPAMming" the group. This grates on my nerves because in this scenario too, this is not SPAM. If you join a networking group for the express purpose of connecting with others to either increase your network, find new clients or broker new partnerships, why are you complaining when someone introduces themselves & their business?? By joining a group who's express purpose is to network, you're advocating anyone to pitch themselves. By these people's standards (regarding the complainers) anytime ANYONE makes a post that isn't relative to even just one person, it would fall under the title of SPAM. Put into perspective, how ridiculous does that sound?!
Now, I can understand when people post obvious junk messages about gaining 20,000 twitter/myspace followers in 5 hours or even posting multiple posts of the same topic within one group. That's pretty junky, and the average business is neither interested in or believes in claims like that because the ROI (return on investment) is pretty low if not non-existent. But to berate people for posting introductions about themselves & pitching their business seems entirely counter intuitive for a site like LinkedIn which is supposed to be for business professionals anyway. Is it really that hard to ignore the message and/or delete it? Apparently so...
But that's just my opinion! ^_^