road-tripping the end of the world

alcohol and form email

Choking on my own lungs this morning, as I’m fighting an annual chest infection, I received the following email in my inbox (click on the cut, I don’t want to litter my front page with this nonsense):

Hi Matt,

 My name is Kevin and I am writing to you from Matchstick, a social media agency right here in Toronto. I read up on your blog and am really enjoying the variety in the content you write about. In particular, I liked the “Absence” post and the great photography you added to it. After viewing your work, I thought you would be interested in learning about an art initiative called the Courvoisier Collective that was recently launched.

 The Courvoisier Collective is a unique initiative that provides local artists with space to display their art, while connecting the art community and creating exposure for the best and brightest local talents.   

 It’s a unique opportunity because participants can become a part of a province wide collective of artists and showcased all on the same level. As well, an esteemed panel of judges from the Toronto art community will be selecting winners who will have their work displayed on billboards throughout Toronto.

 If this is something you would be interested in writing about or even participating in please let me know and I would be happy to send you over a Courvoisier kit to provide you with more information and inspiration.

 Thanks Matt, keep up the great work on your blog!

 Sincerely,

Kevin [name withheld]

(Please note I have removed the links from the email, as I don’t plan to give this free publicity. I’m sure they’re all over google.)

The words “social media” make me paranoid enough, but the “post” he mentions is what really got me questioning – https://mattsparling.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/absence/ – it’s just a short post explaining my six-month absence from writing here, way back when, which, admittedly, has become something of a pattern. There’s no “great photography” I “added” to it. It all stinks of a spider sending out form mails.

So I did a little bit of digging and Diana Poulsen received this today:

Hi Diana,

My name is Kevin and I am writing to you from Matchstick, a social media agency right here in Toronto. I read up on your blog and am really enjoying the variety in the content you write about. In particular, I liked the “Art Crime Prevention” post, insightful and strong writing. After reading that post, I thought you would be interested in learning about an art initiative called the Courvoisier Collective that was recently launched.

The Courvoisier Collective is a unique initiative that provides local artists with space to display their art, while connecting the art community and creating exposure for the best and brightest local talents.   

It’s a unique opportunity because participants can become a part of a province wide collective of artists and showcased all on the same level. As well, an esteemed panel of judges from the Toronto art community will be selecting winners who will have their work displayed on billboards throughout Toronto.

If this is something you would be interested in writing about or even participating in please let me know and I would be happy to send you over a Courvoisier kit to provide you with more information and inspiration.

Thanks Diana, keep up the great work on your blog!

Sincerely,
Kevin [blah blah blah]

Cursory discussion with a few other folks has revealed they also received the same formula email. Incidentally, if you follow the link I removed, you’re immediately confronted with the well-known brandy brand label, and asked for your age, and quite frankly that’s more than enough upon which to judge this endeavour of theirs.

The lesson, and I guess I would direct this to my former students at Western and those I’ve talked to at McMaster: be scrupulous, cautious and inquiring when strangers take sudden, flattering interest in your work. You might be talking to a cylon. And approach social media with a healthy level of paranoia.

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