In recent years I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned to be an Instructional Designer. (what is that?) I’ve learned that my sister isn’t the only one in my family of origin who can write. I’ve learned that being an open person is easy and enjoyable in the digital age (see my list of 26 things on Facebook) and I’ve learned that flattery can get you anywhere. Or can it?
I, along with many of my health blogging cohorts, was drawn in by the malignant flattery of WellSphere.com, and subsequently I am left wondering. Just how far have I evolved since highschool?
I sifted the letter from Dr. Geoff Ruttledge out of my spam filter, I’m so lucky I noticed it! It was meant to be~ He addressed me by name and said my writing was great. Me! My writing.. he likes MY writing! Okay wait, was he really talking to me or does he say that to all the girls? I reread the essay he commented on. It was pretty darn good. He likes it! He likes me. This is so cool!! Geoff! He’s so popular and he likes ME!!!
His letter was a few weeks old and I hoped my response would still count. Had he found someone else? Playing it cool, I asked questions so as not to come on too strong. What if he’s doesn’t really like me. I analyzed his word choice, reading his letter over and over. I told my friends, and asked them what they think. Does he really want to feature me on his site? Of course he does, why not? I’m good enough… During the two days that passed while I waited for his response I considered a wealth of possibilities. Could this be it??? On a first look at the site I noted that it was free of advertising and seemed concise in its delivery. I could see where Wellsphere as most information based sites, could use some counsel on how to present it for more effective intake. Hmmm… Maybe he will be interested in the MS SoftServe approach, this could be my foray in to something big! A direct avenue to bringing effective learning to the Internet! And my mind ran wild with possibilities. A nice house, white picket fence, 2.5 children….
While I waited for his response I considered how I might tell him my feelings. Checking my email every 2 minutes… What if my internet connection went down. He could be trying to email me right now, and I’m going to miss it! I checked with all my blogging BFFs. I know! I’ll email Lisa Emrich, she knows EVERYTHING! She responded really fast… she knows how important this stuff is. My fingers were shaking as I clicked to open her email…
…. and my heart sank. Apparently he does say that to all the girls. I was just another notch. How was I so easily fooled?
Many health bloggers had received the same flattering emails I did, some of whom were pulled in by the promise of exposure – though others saw through the ruse. As timing would have it- a few hours later, on the very day that I reached out to Lisa, this story broke.
I can’t help but to wonder. If I had been approached sooner or my spam filter wasn’t as thorough would I too have been taken in by this cheap flattery? It’s a tough question, that makes me recoil a bit.
Hmmm. Maybe the highschool creeps were basic training for these real life scenarios.
Now that’s a spin I can appreciate!
Anyone can be taken in be flattery and it’s not your fault that you didn’t realize that the e-mail went out to many others. Just be glad that the information is now out on the Web.
-Mark Johnson, former Wellsphere product manager
Thanks for your note. I took a look at your entry– you certainly learned the hard way didn’t you! If nothing else, its reassuring to be in such good company!
Thanks for taking the time to establish the connection.
“Spin I can appreciate” – I like that Amy!!
One of the differences between when I received that first email from the dear Doc and when you looked into Wellsphere would be the advertising. Last May/June, Wellsphere was plastered to the rim with ads for snake-oil, weight-loss and fitness gurus, alternative approaches to health (which I don’t necessarily disagree with, but still).
There was NO MS community, at all. There was NO straight health/medical community. I looked and thought to myself, “why in the world would they want me around here. I wouldn’t fit in.”
Then a few bloggers who responded to the first email with a question were automatically signed-up. Now, that didn’t sound right. Others had difficulty getting anybody to respond to requests to take them out of the system…..and that was June 2008.
Slowly they must have cleaned up the ads and a few more bloggers joined, and well, you know the rest of the story.
Don’t feel bad. I think that the post which was chosen for the first (of very many requests, bordering on harrassing spam) approach in the form letter was my “Metal Taco” post which is loosely related to MS.
But now, HealthCentral (whom I am paid to write for) owns Wellsphere. Very interesting turn of events. I’m curious to see what happens next.
And….we all like a bit of flattery now and then.