Monday, January 17, 2011

Some thoughts on sending PM (private message) first time to a Forum members

Normally all the Forums will be having an option to send private message (PM) to any person from their profile page.

Today, I had an interesting discussion about this PM.

Every one will agree that sending PM to a particular person multiple times continuously without getting any reply message will be considered as "Spamming".

Now the question is, whether we can consider sending the PM to the unknown person first time as "Spamming"?

It is something similar to unsolicited email sending. Only thing is, both the PM sender and PM receiver will be the members of a common Forum.

If we consider first time PM sending as "Spamming", then what is the purpose of having PM? i-e No one is going to send PM, so obviously no one will receive PM.

What do you think? You can share your thoughts thro' the comments section.

I had asked this question in a LinkedIn Discussion also.

You can find below some answers.

I would only PM or email someone that I've connected with on LinkedIn - beyond just being the member of the same LinkedIn group.

It would depend on the content. If the private message - such as one I received from a fellow group member yesterday - is to comment on something group-related or to build a relationship, then no it is no spam. If it were a message from a group member sending me a sales pitch, then yes absolutely that's spam and I would report the email as such both to LinkedIn and to the group manager.

Spam by definition has to do with a private e-mail address, not use of social media.

Anytime someone sends out a message to a list of people where some or any of the recipients might view the message as spam the message itself must be viewed as spam.

Nobody likes to be viewed as part of a flock while someone is firing a shotgun loaded with bird shot. Sure some of the bird shot may hit something, but the rest of the bird shot is always viewed as more than just a simple annoyance.

Let's separate the content from the technology.

You are standing on the street and pass some random guy who turns to you and say - "Hi, how can I help you today?" what reaction are you likely to have?

Now, say you go to a friend's party where you know some, but not all of the people there. Someone comes up and says, "Hi, how can I help you today?"

Lastly, you get a phone call from a colleague in the same company who you don't talk to often, and he asks, "Hi, how can I help you today?"

The first - general PM from someone you don't know - is clearly spam. It has no context and is kinda weird.

The second - PM from someone who is in the same group as you - *might* be weird, if the person doesn't then explain, "I heard you ask Jay if he know someone who could help you with...." If he does, then you'll have context and relevance, so not spam.

The third - PM from a contact - also *might* be weird, but also might be useful if there was a conversation going on that he's responding to. Probably not spam, unless proven otherwise.

Spam is in the intent here on LI. If your message reads, "Hi, I can talk at you because I can" then you are spamming a person. If you provide context and show that there is a reason you've made contact, it's not spam.

By sending the PM are you adding or giving value? Any PM that has the appearance of "gimmee", I would consider spam.

Find ways to connect on a deeper level. In linked in, ask for an introduction from a mutual contact. Go further, ask for some information on the person you want to connect with from the person your seeking the intro.

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