Should connecting on a social network = signing up for marketing blasts?

When I connect to someone on a social network such as LinkedIn or Facebook, I expect to be connected to them personally, not to their company’s marketing machine. Yes, I know, it’s common to farm our online contact lists for potential customers, but I found this recent email to be a bit over the top:

As a Linked In connection to Dion Hinchcliffe, you are probably aware of Dion’s internationally acknowledged thought leadership on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Web-Oriented Architecture (WOA) , and Web Services.  Given the growing demand for his subject matter expertise, Dion felt it important that Hinchcliffe & Company’s expand its capabilities to include world class consulting on these subjects.  To that end, Dion has assembled a team of highly skilled technical architects, personally educating them on his own strategic and operational methods for successful delivery of SOA/WOA and Web Services Solutions.

On behalf of Dion, I am writing to announce the formal launch of Hinchcliffe & Company’s SOA/WOA and Web Services Practice.  I will be following up with you by phone . . . but in the meantime, if you have an immediate need for this type of expertise, feel free to contact me directly.  We have talented, fully trained people ready to go.

I have never heard of the person who wrote this letter (although apparently she works for Dion), and although when I connected to Dion I assumed that I would likely be put on some of his mailing lists, but I never expected one of his people to explicitly admit that she breached the privacy of one of his social networks in order to feed the marketing machine.

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