In a world where so much written communication goes through some form of electronic device, it’s tempting to cut and paste our bio, or add some kind of advertisement about our blog, website or latest novel, to just about every email or message we send.
The thing is, if we’re not careful, the ‘message’ the other person receives might be quite different from the one we intended, and not in a good way.
Just as having a bio and blurb that’s as long as your guest post on someone else’s blog might give the wrong impression, the same goes for those little self-advertisement thingies that we put below our name.
After all, what we’re really saying with that post-message link or blurb is, ‘Check out my website/blog,’ or ‘I’ve a book for sale, maybe you’d like to buy it.’
That’s not to say they’re a bad idea, but if you ask me, in this case less is most definitely more.
Personally, I don’t use a post message blurb at all (yet), but if ever I do, I’m going to make a list of occasions when I refrain from adding it. These include:
Any kind of congratulatory email/message.
Any kind of commiseration email/message.
Any kind of supportive email/message.
“Wait a minute.” I hear you say. “Isn’t this what networking’s all about? There's a big chunk of potential blog traffic/sales potential in amongst these kinds of messages. In this day and age, don't we need to get the word out about ourselves and our work at every opportunity?”
I’m all for networking. I think it can have a huge impact on the 21st century writer’s career, but I also believe we need to be subtle about it. There’s a time and a place for everything. For example; Imagine you received one of the above messages from a friend who then stuck a PS: on the end of his (or her) “Sorry to hear about your Mom’s accident” note, asking if you wanted to buy some property insurance. I doubt you’d be impressed.
To be fair, I don’t believe the folks who do this realize the potential message they’re sending, but I think it’s something we should consider carefully before adding that 'read me/follow me/buy my book' blurb to our emails etc.
Of course, as always, I could be wrong.
How about you?
What's your take on those info/blurbs people put beneath their name on emails and message thingies?