I think with people publishing, and self-publishing, and advertising on Twitter and Facebook, everyone comes across this question sooner or later. A lot of promotion is white noise you’re happy to glance at but otherwise ignore, or file for later use, depending on whether it interests you.
The threshhold to the realm of annoying marketing is not the same for everyone. Some people aren’t bothered by promotion, others want none at all. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.
We don’t mind self-promotion on a site or blog, if the site contains other, non-promotion material.
We don’t mind posts on Facebook and Twitter, as long as the promoter takes part in the social network of these sites as well.
I suspect that most of us draw the line at personal messages. Personal messages come up on your email program with a beep. You can’t ignore them. You hope to receive a piece of communication you’ve asked for, but instead you receive an ad you haven’t asked for.
I think promotion crosses the line when it no longer allows the recipient to casually glance at it in his or her time, and put it aside. It’s annoying when it’s phrased in language that demands attention (so-and-so invited you to so-and-so launch halfway across the planet). If you are going to target people with emails, select your recipients carefully.
What do you think?