It was early and I was on my first cup of coffee wading through my email. There was what appeared to be a request by an editor in Virginia for a review copy about my book. I immediately, responded with a polite note, copying my publishers, PR person asking the book be sent.
Except that the conversation was not directed at me. It was responding to a direct mail pitch from a PR agency that I had not heard of who was pitching another book with which I was not associated. The agency was using a list server that contained the email names of a great many editors and bloggers who touch upon the social media space.
I had been one the bloggers on the list an that's why the conversation landed in my inbox, as well as scores of other editors and analysts.
Strangely, a lot of email started being generated in this stream. At first I paid no attention to it, but when the quantity started piling up, I opened a few to discover editors and bloggers shrieking to stop this endless stream of spam. Many thought it was me and I had to drop what I was behind it.
It spilled quickly into Twitter. An analyst for a very prominent firm, posted that my PR agency was spamming the world promoting my new book. The head of a PR agency who is prominent in social media, noted that this bad PR seemed to be doing me good because there were a few requests to send the book amid a host of them suggesting I go to the window open and take a flying leap.
Anyone who follows me should know that I am far from a fan of spammers and of PR practitioners sending blanket unsolicited emails. At first, I thought there was malicious intent behind what had occurred. I was relieved to realize it was just an odd coincidence.
I hope the PR person in question learns a lesson and is smart enough to apologize--not by email but in a blog. I wish the analyst who posted false accusations of me would retract his statement, but analysts admitting when they are wrong is an unfortunate rarity.
For me, it has taken a few hours with a firehose to set the record straight. I'm sure there are some people in that email stream who will continue to think I had something to do with book-promoting spam, but overall, social media has allowed me to set the record straight with most people.
This post is another step in that effort.
Is there a lesson to be learned? First, I need to be very careful what email I answer on my first cup of coffee. Second is that I should consider going back to caffeinated.