We know each other, sort of… bad PR pitches and feeling dirty

by Shannon Paul on April 2, 2009

Yesterday I wrote a post here about receiving a PR pitch in a blog comment from a representative of a skin/haircare company called Yes to Carrots titled, PR pitches disguised as blog comments make me feel so dirty.

In an interesting turn of events, I received a phone call this morning from the person who left the comment. He promptly apologized for leaving the comment and explained that he never intended to make me feel diminished in the manner I reported.

I also explained to him that I had absolutely no ill will against him and appreciated his apology and willingness to discuss the matter further with me. After all, isn’t this the kind of interaction that illustrates where the real power and potential of social media lies?

What followed was an interesting conversation about false intimacy.

He explained to me how he reads my blog on a regular basis – subscribes even. He said that he recognized my sense of humor and thought it would be fun to drop a line about the products even though he recognized the true meaning of my post.

My friend Jeremy Tanner and I talked a great deal about this subject over the past weekend during Startup Weekend Detroit: just because I read your blog on a regular basis, or just because I shook your hand at a conference doesn’t mean you know me.

I may feel like I know you because of my level of engagement in your work, which feels so personal, but unless we have had a more meaningful interaction, you don’t really know me.

Had this person engaged with my content, rather than just reading, I may have been in a better position to recognize our connection. I think I would still probably have preferred to be pitched in an email, but I’m sure I would have received the pitch very differently.

So, like so many negative feelings that result from basic human interaction, the true cause was miscommunication and false assumption — not just his. I wrongly assumed his comment signified a lack of knowledge and/or respect for what I do here. On that count, I was wrong, too.

The bottom line is that we’re all trying to navigate this social space with different sets of expectations within a new social paradigm. I hope we can all (myself included) learn to be more patient with one another as we find our way.

I’m confident there can still be a happy ending. A blog post — any blog post is never the end of the story, but only the very beginning of a conversation.

So, what’s next?

Photo by dr.ppr – QTR

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

April 2, 2009 Emily 1

If anything, it seems that communicating online has much greater space for misinterpretation. It’s a gift to be able to express yourself in such an impersonal space. Duly noted, and we love carrots anyway!


April 2, 2009 Matthew 2

Kudos, Shannon.
Life is about even ground. Continue to try to find it.


April 3, 2009 Cheapsuits 3

I what point do you ‘know’ somebody? Don’t think it’s a line you cross and can check the ‘yep I know them’ box. Also in the mix is ‘meeting’ someone. Shaking your hand at a conference definitely falls in that catagory. What are the acceptable things one can interact with you after they ‘met’ you but not ‘know’ you? I think ultimately it falls upon the ‘aggresor’ to use common sense, see it from your prospective and ask: ‘how creepy is this contact’?Make sense or am I babbling and over analyzing?


April 3, 2009 Shannon Paul 4

I think that’s a really good point. One could even argue that you never *really* know another person. There are certainly levels of familiarity, but respect and non-creepiness go a long way in transcending any lack of familiarity and help new connections become old friends.


April 3, 2009 Rufus 5

Remember when the blogger-elite preached “be personal, be authentic, be you” in your blog? This is the unanticipated celebrity it causes. Maybe being too authentic is not such a good thing after all. Maybe a little distance is good.

Maybe you need to blog as your really smart dog :-)


April 3, 2009 Shannon Paul 6

I really don’t put people in categories and I’m not exactly sure who you mean by “blogger elite”. I think being authentic is always best – authenticity and transparency are different concepts. It’s possible to have healthy boundaries *and* be authentic, as well as honest. Does this make sense?


April 3, 2009 Avil Beckford 7

This is a great lesson for us. Two of Don Miguel Ruiz’s agreements are Don’t Take Things Personally and Never Make Assumptions. I would like to say that I live them daily but like most people I struggle with them. And the rapid rise of online interactions doesn’t help. But this is a perfect learning opportunity for me and thank you for that!



April 20, 2009 Anna Barcelos 8

Shannon, great post although I’m reading it late. Having only been in social media world for about a year, I’ve learned that people can smell “fakeness” a mile away. Traditional “pitching” never worked well, amplify that x 1000 and you can really get yourself into trouble on the social networks. It all comes down to staying true to yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. That will resonate in your business and personal relationships.


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  • Mengel Musings » Blog Archive » No to Carrots, Yes to Pomegranates April 3, 2009

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