Disclaimer: This is a very specific RANT.
But when I receive a voicemail or an email from someone asking to “pick my brain” it’s a fire-engine red flag.
Sending someone a note asking to pick their brain is the equivalent of saying you want them to work for free. Think about it. There's a difference from using other’s experiences and POVs to answer your questions and guide your efforts. Asking someone to essentially do your job is a bit different.
While having lunch with friend and colleague Mike Boehmer, we were trading experiences. Mike is using social media to help his stakeholders at the Hamilton County Job and Family Services. He also helps out the Cincinnati Chapter of PRSA as their social media committee chair.
Mike confessed that he started blogging to help decrease the amount of phone calls he receives from well-intended colleagues about social media. Everyone wins in that situation. In fact, Chris Brogan started blogging answers to questions he was asked so more people could benefit from the answer -- everyone wins.
When Mike told me he also gets requests to pick his brain, I realized it wasn’t just me.
So keep in mind that sharing is required for a network to, uh, work. Sharing is a two-way street and there’s a fine line between getting help and essentially outsourcing. /rant