I don’t dislike public-relations people. PR on the whole isn’t that different from journalism and blogging, and I understand that trying to get the word out about companies, products and services is their job. For those who don’t know, I work on a blog about Facebook. The percentage of emails I receive that have nothing whatsoever to do with Facebook has been on a steady upswing, despite my efforts to alert senders that they’re barking up the wrong tree, unsubscribe (when applicable) and pound away at the spam button in Gmail.
No matter how much I try to clean up my email box, I can’t even begin to tell you how much of my time this process wastes on a daily basis.
First off, as I have said in the past, 99.99% of emails with “STORY IDEA” in the subject line are completely mistargeted and useless.
Second, when your email begins with a greeting to my former boss (who has not been a part of my blog since April 2012), the blog’s founder (whose byline last appeared that same month, after very limited involvement over the year prior to that), or a person I’ve never heard of (common mistake when sending mass emails, but still a mistake), you are already starting off down one strike. One strike becomes two strikes when you claim to be a regular reader of the blog, yet you address your email to someone who has not been a part of it for almost three years.
Third and most important, if you are emailing the editor of a blog that writes about Facebook, how about, oh, I don’t know, actually pitching a story that is related to Facebook? When I skim through an entire pitch or press release and don’t see the word “Facebook” once, smoke comes out of my ears.
Finally, in the cases when I take the time to reply to flaks and remind them that I am interested in Facebook and only Facebook, writing back to try to push a completely unrelated story is beyond foolhardy. I actually had one person who pitched a story with no Facebook angle whatsoever write back to try to sell me on the story with this gem: “Well, the company does have a Facebook page.” Really? So does my softball league. You don’t see me writing about that, do you?
Oh, yes, and one more pet peeve of mine is the misuse and abuse of the word “expert.” I have been writing about Facebook since 2011, yet I don’t consider myself an expert. Working for a company that runs Facebook ad campaigns or helps businesses create pages on Facebook doesn’t really make you an expert, either. So the fact that you are available for comment tells me you are just trying to get your name out there, which is fine, but I’m not biting.
If I want to waste time during the work day (and who doesn’t?), I will waste time pondering fantasy sports moves, playing Words with Friends or checking Facebook, like just about everyone else does. I should not be wasting so much time on emails that are as useful as tits on a bull.