They’re playing outside again…

Almost a year ago today I wrote a post about how it felt as though I was back in my childhood, had been grounded and I could hear all the other kids having a ball, playing outside.

I’m getting the same feeling again as this year’s New Comm Forum kicks off.

Photos from the event.

Mental note to self: Do something about it!

Aside:

Sometimes we forget about inventing a better mousetrap.  I was having dinner* last night and on a visit to the bathroom came face-to-face with the Dyson Airblade. Most people will be familiar with the Dyson range of vacuum cleaners.  The Airblade takes the same approach to hand drying and it’s a stunning innovation, dry hands in seconds. I know its a mundane piece of everyday hardware but it just shows how some clever thinking, engineering and design can radically change something that doesn’t work (traditional hand dryers) but we put up with anyway. It was the talk of the table :-)

*For Dublin readers it was in Tiger Becs on Dawson Street.  I’d never seen one before but maybe that’s because I live a sheltered life.

Social Networking – PR Style, come on in…

I’ve always thought that while the Internet does a great job of removing the barriers of geography – and that’s a good thing – ultimately people care most about their locality.  After all, if you want movie listings or services you want them locally. If you’re looking for career advice you’ll probably want to talk to a peer. That’s the theme behind social networking.

So where are social networks going?  Are they transient (as someone once wrote “training wheels for the Internet”) or are they here to stay?

Talking with some students last week they thought that in their current guise (Myspace, Bebo etc.) they were transient.  They open and shut sites regularly – and the only “organizations” successfully reaching them on MySpace or Bebo were bars and clubs :-)

So social networks may stay, change or disappear – or they may even become MORE niche.  That’s the idea behing Ning the latest venture from Netscape wunderkind Marc Andreeson.

At Ning you can set up your own social network…

For a test I’ve set up http://onlinepr.ning.com

[publicrelations was already taken]

Have a look.

Talking in Dublin…

Along with the forthcoming Delivering the New PR 2.0 event in Newcastle, I’m also planning to bore some people in Dublin to death.

I’m speaking at the Irish Internet Association‘s event: “Blogging, New Media, Business and the Law”, which takes place on March 21st in the newly refurbished Shelbourne Hotel at 6.30pm (or 18.30 if you live in mainland Europe or spent a lot of time in the army).

I’m delighted to point out that Sarah Carey, Richard Delevan and TJ McIntyre will be also speaking so it won’t all be hot air :-)

Ireland: How is PR meeting the needs of the Tech Press?

The Technology Journalists’ Association of Ireland has released the results of a survey of their membership on how they rate the service they get from Irish PR professionals.

  • 64% believe that PR people know their clients’ products and services well or very well
  • 66% prefer dealing with local PR firms – as against firms outside the country
  • 68% believe PR people know the area(s) the journalist covers (somewhat)
  • 50% believe that review versions of software and hardware are not widely available
  • 24% follow up a press release with the PR firm (on a regular basis)
  • 92% prefer to be contacted via e-mail
  • 100% prefer pictures via e-mail [JPEG – 100% best format]

 

“The main problem we encounter is that a release is sent out, and then there is no one available to speak about it. This happens a lot. Sometimes when you ask a PR person to explain what a release means, they just read the release back to you. Especially when it comes to more technical matters.”

 

“There aren’t enough attempts to pitch ideas for stronger stories any more. Too much of the time, we are contacted by PR people simply to try and get a press release or picture plugged.”

 

“I’ve noticed a tendency of some companies to put senior people into the winning of a big IT client and then as soon as they’ve won the business hand it over to a junior.”

Looks like some themes are common wherever you go in the world!

On a related topic:

Piaras has pulled together a whole range of stats on Internet, Mobile and Broadband usage in Ireland.

Murphy plans to eat hat…

Last year I had a lot of fun participating in a series of events branded “Delivering the New PR” which where organized by Philip Young, the University of Sunderland with the wonderful folks at Don’t Panic. The events, which included  new mum Elizabeth Albrycht, Neville Hobson, Philip and Stuart Bruce were incredibly enjoyable.

We’ve decided to take the content up a level for a new series of talks entitled: “Delivering the New PR 2.0”.  Following on from my post last Friday, I think Philip’s a little worried that I’m no longer willing to speak at these events :-) .

But then given I don’t like the term “New PR” either I don’t think the title will be an issue….

 

PR: The jack of all trades WILL get the worm…

Ladies and gentlemen. 

For many years our profession has struggled with the issue of “getting a seat at the table”.  This was the issue-de-jour for many years.  How can we get PR to be taken more seriously. It’s probably still an issue but I don’t know for sure because it’s hard to find a lot of opinions on Public Relations – in the broadest sense.

I read there are now over 600 PR bloggers.  That is fantastic.

That is a wealth of information, opinions and viewpoints unimaginable even just a few years ago. 

Back in 2002 you were stuck with a couple of password protected websites, mailing lists – where people with huge egos to match their mouths dominated what today we would call “conversation”. There were, in March 2002, four PR blogs. Interestingly two in Europe and two in the US.

Today it’s all changed. You could lose days and weeks reading PR blogs – that is a fantastic advancement.

However, there is one cloud on this horizon. While the medium of blogging is continuing its slow yet steady path into the general public consciousness, we should not forget that PR is a broad church with many constituencies.

In my ever humble opinion there’s too much discussion of new media in isolation.  The future success of Public Relations doesn’t reside with the adoption of blogging et al – rather it resides in the intersection of the new and the established – I don’t use the word ‘old’ because that has certain nuances with which I don’t agree.

I read a blog yesterday, from a distinguished long time practitioner which had a category for “Legacy PR” – in the name of all things that are sacred.

My distaste for the term “New PR” is only surpassed by the term PR 2.0

Ladies and Gentlemen, if PR 2.0 is your nirvana I strongly suggest you adopt a colorful sock puppet as your mascot and make like a dot com.

PR 2.0 is a nonsense.

[You know me I’m not a big fan of opinions :-)]

PR 2.0 insinuates there’s a PR 1.0 (there isn’t) and that we’re seeing something better emerge to replace it (we aren’t).

This isn’t about replacement, this is about integration. I’ve made this point before many times, and now I’m making it again.

This isn’t just about media relations or blogger relations.

This is why the Web 2.0 “visionaries” are irrelevant.

With PR 2.0 you are pitching an idea whose time has not only not arrived, but never will.

This is NOT about the new new thing. 

By all means investigate the new tools, channels, services and ideas that emerge every second hour. Poke them, see if they have potential uses, share your views, opinions and hopes, but please don’t present them all as the next new new thing. [As an experiment arrange the following words into a sentence: cried, the, wolf, who and boy]

If you are talking about PUBLIC RELATIONS, then it’s not the tools, the channels or the technology that matters – it’s the audience.

When every human being on the planet exclusively receives information from the Web then we should probably revisit this topic.  In the meantime let us have some balance. [Yes there are some more advanced markets where people find more information online – but they still read traditional media.]

Let’s have some really interesting discussion on how the combination of existing tools and techniques with blogs, podcasts etc. are helping PR people do a better job.

Let’s talk about the online stuff that is having an impact on PR today and most people ignore because it’s not shiny, exciting or glamorous.

[e,g, Where is the first place you find information online? A search engine?  How many PR people know about, or offer services on Search Engine Optimization? Surely this is key to online reputation management? No, you’re right flickricious 3.2 is far more important.]

Let’s extend the online discussion into all areas of Public Relations from internal communications to more vertical markets, investor relations, analyst relations, public affairs.

Let’s talk about what matters – the best way to communicate ideas and information.

Let’s leave the hyperbole where it is and talk about PR.

One of the major reasons that Public Relations is such a fascinating profession, is also a reason why its so misunderstood – diversity.

To ignore that diversity and instead focus on inane discussions on the death of the media makes no sense to me.

I think the discussion on new media/tools is fantastic, incredibly interesting and will shape communications in the future, but don’t fall into the trap of forgetting that what we do is communicate – in many different ways, to many different audiences, in many different locations. 

Tools that make that process more effective are welcome, but remember that the tool doesn’t make the communicator, the communicator makes the tool communicate.

Profound or what?

Light fuse and stand back…

Some miscellaneous PR links…