Seth Godin is complaining about the sense of entitlement on display from the strangers showing up in his inbox…
“Incoming “personal” notes from people two or three handshakes away are now insisting that I help format PowerPoint presentations, introduce them to just the right hiring executive, contribute to their next project or drag myself downtown for lunch to discuss how I might give them some advice.“
I’m quite familiar with this phenomenon… indeed, I temporarily brought down of all my personal pages a few years ago because of a pseudo-stalking incident. My friend Paul has even taken to posting an elaborate “How to contact Paul” page that instructs his readers on how best to contact him. (Speaking of which, drop him a line and ask if you can borrow twenty bucks. Tell him I sent you.)
Where’s the balance? If bloggers, writers and journalists desired obscurity they wouldn’t be bloggers, writers and journalists. The problem, though, lies in the sense of familiarity one’s readership has with them, and the tendency to forget that said familiarity goes in only one direction.
The issue is more pronounced when one is blogging as a way to promote their business or consultancy: these people need to make sure that their prospective customers are able to contact them, but need some way to sort the valuable contacts (i.e. “we’d like to engage your company’s services, and we’re willing to pay”) from the noise (i.e. “can you loan me twenty bucks? JRJ said you would.”) It’s tough to do, but if you’re trying to promote your venture on the web it’s just something you’ve got to do.