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Note to Those Wanting Promotion: Pay Attention

We bloggers often get e-mails from individuals and organizations in search of promotion. And that's fine, as we all want to spread the news of fantastic work that needs support. Case in point: AnimalEquality.

But there are two types of requests that are irksome to me:
1.    People I hear from only when they want me to promote them, and I have never asked them to promote me (I'm terrible at that) nor have they ever done it of their own accord. I should recognize their work, yet they won't recognize mine. And though it's not a colossal problem by any means, it's annoying for a moment, and with the world being the way it is, I have enough to be annoyed about.

2.    People who want me to promote them but they clearly haven't spent any meaningful time reading what I have written. They probably have a list of people whom they blast an e-mail to, changing only the field after the Dear in the letter, and they hope some of them will stick. And that's when I get e-mails like this:

Dear Mary
I’m Caroline and I’m one of the Supporter Services team members for Compassion in World Farming.
Having read your blogs I thought you might like to hear about Compassion in World Farming’s Bake with Compassion fundraising week.
From the 6th -10th of July we are asking everyone to get their aprons on and bake with free-range or organic eggs.

By encouraging people to bake with higher welfare eggs (as well as organic milk, butter and chocolate) vital funds will be raised to campaign against battery cages. We are hoping you might be interested in spreading word of the event to readers of your blog, or may know someone who would like to blog about this fundraising event.

Now, I'm the first one to say that when I began blogging I thought the end of the use of animals would never come, so in the meantime, welfare reforms could at least be supported. But that was back in 2006. And if Compassion in World Farming wanted to see if I knew of their campaigns and might want to support them, they could have easily Googled CIWF right at Animal Person, at which point they'd find:

When someone takes the time to write a personal e-mail and it's obvious they've interacted with me and readers or at least know what I stand for, and their cause is aligned, I'm always happy to oblige. It's not as if I have an enormous readership, and certain folks stay away because it's not in my nature to travel with any flock, but if I can make even a small contribution to someone who does great work, I'm thrilled.

Note to Compassion in World Farming: I want to see the end of farms that use sentient nonhumans. An end. Not a change in the way they do things. An end.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. If this had a like button, I'd click on it.

    June 17, 2009
  2. HAHA this cracked me up.

    June 17, 2009
  3. John #

    Huh!..are we going to start seeing the phrase "higher welfare eggs" on egg cartons now?? Some…a lot…MOST people just don't get it do they?

    June 17, 2009
  4. Dear Dr Martin,

    Oh dear. CiWF might as well be sending you penis enlargement spam.

    I am finding your blog thoughtful and interesting, but may I enter a defense for the first group of irksome promoters?

    Not all websites are a web log, and so not everyone who recognises your work would do so by linking to it. (A "web blog", for those who are neither ubergeeks nor language experts, is an online diary of links with commentary and criticism, and from it is derived the word "blog", which has become a more general term for an online diary with comments.) For example, Verdant Reports has a five minute podcast on vegan food in Thailand with links to sites offering more information. But it does not have any posts which simply say "this is interesting: have a look". This was a conscious decision because people like you are already doing a web log for vegans really well.

    Websites have had link exchanges since at least 1995, so reciprocity is woven into the cultural norms of the internet. Web loggers who link to Verdant Reports generally ask me to link back. But expecting someone to link just because they are asking you for a link is asking them to act on the basis of "scratch my back" reciprocity instead of what fits in with their site or is what they're trying to do for their audience. Yes, this is a counsel of perfection. And I'm going to compromise and post a page of "Thank you for linking" links.

    But at heart, if you do thoughtful analysis and promotion of stuff which is already on the net, and I think my stuff is the kind of thing you might be interested in, then what's wrong with letting you know?



    (PS: I checked, and I do not think I have ever asked you to plug my podcast.)

    June 20, 2009
  5. Mary Martin #

    I think we're talking about 2 different things.

    Linking to people whose work you admire, or as a way to present multiple views of your topic, isn't really what irks me. It's the people, particularly who don't support me as I'm a bit of an outsider, and who want me to support them, or who show up only to say: Hey, what you're saying reminds me of something I wrote (followed by the link) that irk me. No participation in the discussion other than: Look at me. This is a pet peeve of mine and perhaps it's not nice of me, but alas . . .

    And recently, someone friended me on FB with a note that said: I think you'll find my new book interesting (or something like that). The foreword was written by Wayne Pacelle!
    Clearly, this person didn't do much pondering of my FB page prior to pressing Send Message. That kind of reckless self-promotion doesn't sit well with me.

    June 22, 2009
  6. "I want to see the end of farms that use sentient nonhumans. An end. Not a change in the way they do things. An end."

    I wish more people felt this way, particular my vegetarian friends and (sadly) far too many of my fellow-vegans.

    June 25, 2009
  7. Well-said, Mary. Yesterday a woman from Greenpeace stopped fellow vegan leafletter and me on the sidewalk on our way back from Sticky Fingers (vegan) Bakery. She wanted us to sign a petition for "sustainable seafood" and told us she'd just talked to a vegan who refused to sign because she didn't support fishing at all. She continued to ask us if we'd like to sign. At this point, we said, "Yeah, we don't support fishing either." And that was that. Hope the next vegan that woman ran into took the time to explain to her that vegans simply don't support fishing. (But I suppose the PETA and other welfarists/Prop 2-boasters will ruin that one.)

    June 25, 2009

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