From my latest contribution to Advertising Age:
"None of this is inherently bad -- this isn't a gripe or a cry for help. It's simply an observation that not unlike e-mail, many of the social applications we use are becoming so convenient, so utilitarian that they begin to attract activity that we need to learn to filter out. Just ask any metrics analyst, they'll show you the stats of how effective well-designed e-mail initiatives can be. But there's a catch. Most effective e-mails are opted into by users who have decided to hear more from brands (or individuals) they trust. Violate that trust, and you are in the spam business.
As social networks become mainstream, it will be business as usual. We'll log onto our network of choice, just as we log onto e-mail and sift through the spam. And we'll be making up our minds about brands and people along the way. Those who spam us will become a nuisance, something to tolerate. And those who make it worth our time will be rewarded with our trust and maybe even loyalty. As marketers and individuals, the choice to add value or generate more noise is ours to make."