User generated arguments..

A former colleague of mine, Andy West, has a new venture underway at Friction.TV. It’s an interesting idea, it’s a portal for user generated videos where you upload a video of your opinion on a particular matter, for example politics, business sport etc. Then you can tag your contribution so you build up a range of opinions in common areas.

I think it’s an interesting concept as there’s nothing more enjoyable than conflicting opinions!

From a UK perspective there’s a range of content already up there, it’s definitely worth a look, they even have a contribution for Boris Johnson! That’ll keep Stuart happy!

It’s just begging for a passionate defence of the press release. Any takers?

Update:

The “World’s Leading” offer their own inimitable take…

The reality about blogging and influence…

Before I begin this post let me provide clear guidance on my position.

Firstly, I am a passionate advocate of blogging and the rest of the online tools.  I firmly believe that these technologies will have a major and profound impact on how we communicate – albeit these technologies may not ultimately look like they do today.

Secondly, I am by nature skeptical of surveys.  I think they provide interesting insight but you can always question their validity.

After many failed attempts I finally got around to reading Edelman’s 2007 Trust Barometer report. [Thanks to Piaras who sent it on]. It’s an interesting read – particular the growing importance of the environment.  The report only samples 35-64 year old high income earners – which means it potentially misses the more tech-savvy segment – and the sample of 3,100 is too small to be definitive, but it is interesting.

We listen to the digerati telling us how blogs are sweeping the online nation, how PR is dead and the press release is “deader” – and how we can’t use the word audience anymore because we’re all people.  Yet the report finds that bloggers rank below PR people in terms of credibility and influence (CEOs are rated #1 followed by Industry/Financial Analyst and a “person like you”).

In terms of credible information, analyst reports, business magazines, conversations with peers, TV coverage, newspaper coverage and press releases lead the way. Blogs again are at the foot of the table.

Of course it could be argued – quite successfully – that “conversations” are what Web 2.0 is about. And maybe in the future online conversations will make up a greater proportion of it…

But while Web 2.0 will continue to grow in influence and reach, when you step out of the cloud, the reality is that life today still remains far more analogue than the ivory tower types would have you believe.

So, just to confirm, newspapers, radio and TV will be with us for a few more weeks. In the meantime blogs, podcasts, social networking and IM will continue to grow.

PS:

I was giving a talk yesterday to a group of local practitioners on technology and new media.  It’s a talk I’ve been giving for about five years now, and the change has been profound.  While in the past participants wanted to talk about e-mail usage, web site design and the odd request about blogging.  The group yesterday was unanimous on the need to address blogging (and other Web 2.0 areas).  So the word is getting out there and I’m delighted to report there was a lot of fantastic discussion on the topic.

PPS:

If you haven’t already read Edelman’s 2007 Trust Barometer I recommend it.

How do I sleep at night?

Like a big overgrown baby that’s how.

Man, if only my professional life was as exciting and dynamic as this video suggests [Via Philip].

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of unethical practices such as astroturfing going on out there.

But I think I’m safe suggesting that the vast majority of PR is about helping companies and individuals communicate more effectively with their audiences (shock! the web 2.0 crowd won’t be happy with that).

The vast majority of us don’t spend our time having fantastically covert briefings in darkened car parks.  The vast majority of us have ethics, families, friends and lives.

PR Watch absolutely performs a useful watchdog service, but by tarring everyone in PR with the same brush they are only fulfilling their own worse nightmare. It’s FUD – that’s all.

Whenever I hear people ranting about PR people’s dark mission, I always wonder should I view my family like the poor henchman’s widow in the Austin Power’s movie who gets that call that her husband has been killed. And while he’s clearly evil his family are normal and clean living.

Nah. 

My conscience is clear baby!

Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant…

Shel’s post brought a smile to my face.

At a recent get together in Atlanta, Robert French commented to Shel:

..that he wished those who enthuse over blogs as a replacement for traditional channels of communication (i.e., press releases) would study the issue before talking as though they have been practitioners for years. He is not telling anybody to shut up; he only wishes they would gather some facts before making unreasonable recommendations.

Amen to that. Read Shel’s post for more common sense.

Don’t forget what Web 2.0 is about…

Sometimes when you get too close to the hyperbole around Web 2.0 you start to believe the hype or worse accept the hype as reality.

The exciting thing about Web 2.0 isn’t the zealots preaching from their lofty perches.

The exciting thing about Web 2.0 isn’t the death of off-line, traditional or other things.

No.

The exciting thing about Web 2.0 is that people can come together online with a host of new channels, tools and technologies and do amazing things.

The exciting thing about Web 2.0 is incredibly intelligent people collaborating and sharing.

This video from Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University is a nice reminder of what this is REALLY about. [via Philip]

Don’t let the zealots wear you down. We’ll all still just normal people.