Catchers and throwers
Megan has a great post about the difference between catchers and throwers, inspired by my post about twits: SquidBlog: Catchers and throwers.
I had an interesting interaction along these lines this week. A woman named Jennifer Rosini at Forbes sent a note that read:
You are invited to join the new community of the high quality business and financial bloggers from Forbes.com. Our community - the Business and Financial Blog Network, will launch shortly.
I wrote her back, pointing out that she hadn't even bothered to pretend it was a personal note... just a mail merge missing my name.
She responded (this is the entire note):
I'm not sending these out. I have people working for me that send out 500 a day. Are you interested in joining, Seth?
The juxtaposition of the third sentence with the second just highlighted the inanity of the entire enterprise. It's a high-quality network, but 500 people a day are being asked to join, and it's okay to spam people but do I want to join anyway?
The end result of spam (email spam, blog spam, Twitter spam, Squidoo spam, comment spam, phone spam, politician spam) is that it eats away at your brand. If you don't have a brand, you might make some short term cash but it gets tiresome creating annoyance everywhere you go. If you do have a brand, a brand like Forbes, say, you don't notice the brand erosion... until it's too late.
Here, it's simple:
You can contact just about anyone you want. The only rule is you need to contact them personally, with respect, and do it months before you need their help! Contact them about them, not about you. Engage. Contribute. Question. Pay attention. Read. Interact.
Then, when you've earned the right to attention and respect, months and months later, sure, ask. It takes a lot of time and effort, which is why volume isn't the answer for you, quality is.
That's a great way to get a job, promote a site, make a friend, spread the word or just be a human.