I won’t out the guilty, but there’s a specific person who seems to show up everywhere online — in Facebook, on Twitter and elsewhere. Like Chelsea Clinton, everyone knows of this person, but nobody knows anything of substance about him. This person doesn’t seem to offer much value, but sure works damn hard at being ubiquitous. I really have no beef with this person, except for the fact that I just received one too many impersonal, mass emails, automatically generated by one of his social-networking and address-book systems. The last email I received pushed me over the edge — not because it was downright spam, but because it was spam from someone whom I allowed into some of my more private online social networks, including my personal email. Such annoyance is compounded when your sins are replicated across multiple networking platforms.
Let me be clear: this is not a person with evil intentions. But this is someone careless with reputation, as well as my attention and time. This incident underscores the damage that excessive volumes of impersonal, automated communications can do. The same goes for any business that engages in it — as an enabler or beneficiary. In this age of meta data and attention scarcity, businesses and people must be sensitive to the positive or negative impact of their multiplying, ancillary rivers of communications.