This week, I spoke with a search engine marketing company who had met our company's president at a recent conference. The call started off fine, and then the VP of Business Development said something along the lines of, "Hey, you're really busy! We read your LinkedIn profile, and your tweets, and your blog. So you go to yoga, huh?" I honestly was a little caught off guard by this, but laughed it off and said, "Wow, you guys are thorough. I don't know know whether to be flattered or freaked."
The fact of the matter is, I am well aware that what I put out there online is visible to anyone who cares to view it. (The one thing that isn't a virtual free-for-all is my Facebook account, which I have locked down pretty tightly.) But with the exception of possible future employers, or perhaps speaking opportunities, it never occurred to me that someone would bother to find out as much about me as they could. And the kicker: this "background research" was for a sales call.
My question is: is this in-depth research a common practice? I'm honestly curious to find out what people do when they're prepping for meetings. And, if you do this type of pre-meeting digging, do you tell said subject?