You could hear a pin drop…

Yes, it’s quiet up here, but then there are some very good reasons for it.

I have also spent the past month manfully trying to grow a beard for charity.  To make matters worse tomorrow the beard will morph into an awful red moustache – but for one day only!

The fund raising is branded “Tache for Cash”, but Sorcha informed me that she wouldn’t be seen in public with me if I grew a moustache so a beard it was.

Never again :-)

Hopefully I’ll be back blogging towards the end of next week… and yes Serge I’ll post a photo!

Still only one life…

OK, I tried, honestly I did.  I registered, downloaded the software, installed it.

Clicked on the Second Life icon with trembling or should I say quaking fingers and then… I waited…

“Your graphics card is not supported… “

I am assuming this is a Second Life-Vista related issue as I have a standard modern laptop running a standard modern video card (with loads of memory).

I’m sure this is detailed in a forum somewhere, I’ll have to take a look….



Just as I thought.

Is there ever a good time?

Someone recently gave me a great piece of advice. 

Want to know when a technology has moved from “early adopttion” to the mainstream?  Here’s a hint, it’s not when the bloggers tell you, but rather it’s when the industry conferences and seminars for that topic cease to exist.  I think that’s not a bad indicator, after all, we don’t see many “Internet” or “Multimedia” conferences any more. Of course things are never quite that simple.

A common theme from conversations I have with PR people around the new online tools and channels, is how do we find the relevant outlets and how do we know if our market is ready?

I’m afraid there’s no one easy answer. The best answer I can provide, is that of the indecisive: it depends.


I think that podcasts, although not as populous or mature as the blog, are probably a tool that is applicable to more markets, audiences, and people than many imagine.

As Neville regularly tells us, it really is only restricted by your imagination.  If your target audience has an Internet connection and speakers, they could be ready for some clever podcasts.


The question of blogs is far more complex.  Are blogs “ready”? Well first and foremost let’s ask the question: Are they ready for what exactly?

Sometimes we make the mistake of treating blogs purely as an alternative or supplemental media channel.  This is misguided, blogs serve many purposes.  Here’s just a few:

  • Internal Comms: Blogs can start working for your organization today as a fast and easy way of communicating and building conversations among your people.  For example, in larger companies the HR Director could use a blog to discuss HR issues, plans and ideas and could then gather feedback from staff directly. With RSS (see below), blogs can also offer a powerful communications mechanism – not at the expense of meetings, face-to-face communication etc. but as a useful, timely addition.
  • Staff: This is twofold.  Firstly there’s the obvious idea of getting your staff to blog and provide a “human face” on your organization.  This is something technology firms do increasingly well.  There are many benefits from pure promotion to better conversations with your customers and ad hoc research.  But there’s another side to this.  Many large companies are facing an environment where their staff are blogging independently.  This can often raise issues.  How will you handle those bloggers?
  • Blog Relations: The most obvious is an addenum of media relations. The pitching of bloggers who are covering your area.  This is where people often get agitated.  In early adopter markets such as Technology and Politics, there are already influential bloggers in place, but for slower markets there’s often a discussion whether it’s worth the effort.  My advice is to do some research, talk to customers and partners, do some searching, try and find out are there bloggers in your market and geography who are impacting opinion.  You might be surprised, but equally it may be too early.
  • Executive Blogging: This is related to employee blogging, though often it will provide a more corporate perspective. This is not a “tick box” activity. Unless your executive has something interesting to say and is willing to invest in it, you’re best avoiding it.  If they are committed and have something to say then start today.  I think that Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz is the stand-out example in this category.
  • Web page or the Long Tail Blogging: Rather than talking about blogs, let’s talk about content. Blogs are great for search engine optimization.  Chances are if your customer finds a blog post via a search engine, they won’t even know it’s a blog.  They’ll just think it’s a web page. As the volume of content grows and search engines improve I think that the “fresh” element of blogging will become less important for a large proportion of blogs.  Instead the “back catalogue” will become more important.  People can find their way to your content a variety of ways and it’s not always the front door.
  • Creative Blogging: While most blogs require time and resources, in some cases we’re going to see more event-driven blogs.  For example if you’ve a community project running over a set time period then you might have a blog, which you’ll archive after the event is completed. People need to spend time thinking about the blogs they’re creating.  How can they be interesting? How can they appeal to the audience?  I don’t believe any company can’t have an appealing and effective blog, I just don’t think they’re trying hard enough.


Really Simple Syndication is a powerful technology that can literally save hours every day.  The problem is that it remains difficult to explain in simple terms and it’s still a little difficult to use for the uninitiated.  As software applications and services make it easier to connect to RSS, and an increasing volume and variety of content becomes available in RSS feeds, I think eventually we’ll see mass adoption.  If you’re in PR, and I don’t say this often, ignorance of RSS is a hindrance.  This will save you real billable hours.

Online Measurement

Measurement in the online world is far more complete than off-line.  You can track visitors, referrals, downloads etc. meaning you can start to see how your efforts are actually impacting your audience – this is a powerful weapon for PR people – don’t ignore it.



There’s no one answer.  The applicability of these tools is dependant on your market, your resources, your creativity – and often a mix of the three.  My advice is to explore the possibilities – you might be surprised.


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Delivering the New PR… a retrospective

Well the “Delivering the New PR” series came to an end in London last week.  It was our fifth event and the last in the present series.  The good news is that we do plan to prepare for our difficult “second series” :-) .

I’ve really enjoyed the events.  It’s a testament to Philip Young and the University of Sunderland that he was able to pull together five strangers who had only met via their blogs and deliver a seminar series that hit the mark in terms of bringing all these new technologies to PR people across the UK – according to the feedback forms we got anyway!

It’s been a treat to spend time and share ideas with Chris, ElizabethNevillePhilip and Stuart and a pleasure to enjoy the organizational capabilities of Nicky and Andy at Don’t Panic. [Unfortunately Elizabeth couldn’t attend on Friday – but for a great reason!]

London’s event was both enjoyable and interesting.  There was a lot of great discussion and debate across a diverse crowd of 120 attendees ranging from people with little or no knowledge of blogs and RSS to others already pitching “new media” – urrggghhh :-)

The questions were, as usual, excellent and I was delighted to hear a nice level of scepticism which is no harm when you’re dealing with a subject that can get a little out of hand in the online world.

Second Life* continues to plague me.  There was a lot of engagement around Second Life and what it can do.  It ranged from people who thought it was ridiculous to those already converted to their virtual life (and I’m not just talking about Neville).  Second Life has the knack to creating debate – which is no bad thing.

I still have an open mind on it, but I’m not completely convinced.  For me it’s still the new new thing. But I’m delighted that people like Georg, Kami and Neville are keeping an eye on it for me, and if it does become mainstream you just know I’ll be writing a post about how I spotted it’s potential before anyone else :-)

So farewell to “Delivering the New PR” Mark 1, hopefully Mark 2 will enjoy similar success, drive similar debate and be equally enjoyable.

There are loads of commentary from Friday’s event, here’s a selection:

*Bloody Second Life: OK, I signed up.  What’s with the stupid surname? What can’t I be myself? Urrrgghhh…

A path less travelled…

As any of you who read this blog from time to time already know, I sometimes like to take the contrarian view on certain PR issues, particularly around “Web 2.0” – the greatest attempt at re-creating the Internet bubble known to man.

Sometimes I take these views just to be annoying and sometimes because a reality check is no bad thing.

In this spirit Gary Goldhammer’s post made me laugh.


For what it’s worth (or should I say FWIW) I think the Web 2.0 hypers are going to succeed and we’re going to see at the very least a mini-bubble around Web 2.0.  There’s a lot of itchy money out there and loads of people willing to take it…. I’m not making a value judgement, just a prediction.

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Hefty at 57,000,000 but nice…

Neville and Shel are bringing For Immediate Release back to once a week (every Monday) with additional ad hoc Podcasts, so you’re running out of weeks to enjoy their Thursday installment.

Speaking of nice and hefty, Morgan McLintic (yet another Second Lifer) points to Technorati’s Dave Sifry’s latest blog stats which show 57,000,000 blogs now being tracked by the search engine.

Now while I’m well aware of spam blogs, dead blogs etc. it’s still an impressive number.

Speaking of dead blogs – and something I will pick up on at a later date – with modern day Search Engines, the long-tail benefit of archived or dead blog posts may be more than we previously believed.

It’s PR Jim… just as we know it…

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you read other PR blogs. 

If that’s the case it’s probably fair to assume that you know there’s a lot of interesting online developments out there that promise to have a major impact on how we communicate – all of us, not just PR pros.

However, the problem is that we still don’t know how a lot of this technology will actually change communications in the long-run.

Luckily some kind-hearted folks such as Trevor Cook are taking the time to provide a gentle introduction to the tools that are already emerging.

Others, such as Todd Defren are already seeing these new “media” outlets creating unexpected client issues.

Hysterical discussions of “old” media going away should be avoided – it’s not reality, but there are changes coming and where are audience go, we must follow.  It’s fair to say that there’s not enough audience-centric discussion going on at the moment – but then we don’t have the answers.

I echo Mason Cole’s thoughts on Todd’s issue above:

I need to adapt better to all this.  We all do.  It’s where the industry is moving.


We all need to adapt but there’s still time.  Focus on the channels that are already popular, namely blogs, podcasts, RSS, search engines etc., get out and talk to your audience.  Are they engaging in the “online conversation”? That’s the acid test. It’s not too late, you haven’t missed anything.

We should all keep an open mind, remain inquisitive, don’t be afraid of new things, and get involved where it makes sense.  Sounds like good ‘ole PR to me.


Trevor also has a link to a great piece from the UK Daily Telegraph on how we’re all becoming big babies.  This is something that has annoyed me for quite some time.  I disagree with the nanny state, that’s why we have free will.  Since when do we all expect to be spoon fed?  Grow up and get over it – that’s life :-)