In the era of web 2.0 email is not the only medium to get in contact with a person. People join social media networks, become friends and grand each other the right to be get reached "from inside", from people you are supposed to trust more than a random visitor who drops you an email message. It’s like having hundreds of people in your IM list and reaching them whenever you want.
Having these new (well, not new already) opportunities, can we say that contacting a person via email is old-fashioned and ineffective? In other words, can we say that link requests are dead and social media community is your only method to build links and a link builder should be a social media user ? This WebmasterWorld discussion shows that many people think so.
Establish a profile, garner a following and you have all the resources you need for getting links.
Really, this might make sense as being in the same community gives the feeling of closeness. You have more opportunities to get attention and thus attract links.
At the same time this makes the job of a link builder much more limited: You can’t be a social media guru in every niche. For example, I am well known for being an SEO in social media and really getting "SEO related links" to my blog is not a problem for me but I hardly get links to other-niche sites of mine or my clients using my social media network.
Building a network for every network I have to deal with would be impossible. So to me link requesting (meaning contacting website owners via email) is still vital and I still believe it can be a highly effective way to build links if you do it right. What about you? Do you still use traditional link building requests ?