PR People: Beware the list of lists

Since the dawn of PR our profession has a proud history of using lists.

We have Top Ten lists, Bottom Ten lists, in fact we have PR lists covering practically every facet of human existence.

So in the spirit of "those who live by the sword…" it’s probably no surprise that those same lists are coming back to haunt us.

Over the past week I’ve identified three categories of such lists…

 

1) The "I don’t want to be on that list" list

Wired Editor-in-Chief and well known author Chris Anderson has clambered onto his high horse (I imagine it would have to be a high horse as I’m sure it has a LONG tail… sigh… sorry I couldn’t resist) and published a list of PR e-mail addresses that he is blacklisting from his Inbox.image

Now that’s probably a list you don’t want to be on.

However, before anyone climbs aboard their own pony I should point out the Greenhouse rule of blogging.

As Todd Defren manfully (should that person-fully?) pointed out recently, the moral high ground can often become a windy, lonely place.

Instead, a whispered "tut-tut" followed by a quiet "there but for the grace of jebus" is often the best response to such incidents.

2) The "I want to be on that list but it ain’t going to happen" list

There’s loads of candidates here obviously.

Many have words like "fastest", "millionaire", "guru", and "beautiful".

However I’m taking a simpler example such as Todd Andrlik’s Power 150.

Although I’d never admit it publicly (this is just between us OK?) and while I try to discourage it, I have a penchant for "vanity surfing" a couple of times a year.

You know what I’m talking about.

Every time I check the Power 150 list I’m falling further back (currently descending past #175).

By the way, this is a good validation of the list because I’ve been running this blog on fumes for a while now and the bloggers putting in the time and effort are climbing up while I slip and slip.

I just hope we move to the "Power 550" as soon as possible.

3) The "Who cares?" list

Finally we come to the list that no one should care about.

Here I am talking about the anonymous (and gutless?) male\female PR blogger who "retired" recently after grinding more axes than a Canadian lumberjack, without adding one byte of value to the PR community.

"It" recently came out of retirement (after nearly a full week with its hooves up)to insult a range of PR bloggers whose only crime was to have expressed their opinions (without hiding their identities).

Many of these bloggers I know and respect, in any case we should shun cowardice on this scale – no link love from here.

We’ll miss "it" not…

Note: I’m not referring to "The World’s Leading" by the way, which actually does make me laugh from time to time and tars everyone with the same brush in an even handed manner… well kind of.

Update: I see The World’s Leading is hanging up it’s HTML editor as well…

PR’s Death: A broken clock is right twice a day…

A gentle yawn, a quick stretch and then a long sigh.

Here we go again.

Once again I am failing in my preferred course of action which is to resist the  knee jerk post.

I am writing about the latest “wisdom” from our favourite self-appointed PR-industry guru Tom Foremski.

Tom has a long and proud track record of proclaiming the demise of “traditional” Public Relations.

This is just the latest.  But once again I’ll re-state my view that Tom is ahead of his (and everyone else’s) time.

PR isn’t dying or about to die. 

No agency or practitioner that is worth their salt or are serious about communicating effectively on behalf of its client is going to eschew traditional media and traditional PR activities for the bright shine of the new new online thing.

Yes PR is changing, but please, let’s try and keep some perspective.

Read Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy.

It’s not about the tools.

It’s about the audience.

If your audience still (gasp) reads newspapers, then that’s still a valuable media. It may not have hype, it may not raise $400m in VC funding, but it’s bloody important.

In my opinion, Mr. Foremski’s post is pure rubbish – and I think five years writing on blogs about “New PR” and “Old PR” gives me some perspective on the matter.

I also work in PR which (shock) gives me a little more insight into the real world rather than the hyperbole and the mis-intended irony.

Mr. Foremski writer:

Strumpette and Amanda Chapel tried to stir up changes in the PR industry and encourage a new form of PR, by openly discussing ethical issues, and all the unpleasant aspects of knowing how the sausage is made.”

Then with no trace of irony goes on to discuss Transparency.

Strumpette was the most opaque PR blog on the roll. 

Hiding (I suspect) his identity Strumpette didn’t try and champion change, instead it was purely an attack vehicle for someone with an axe to grind.  Don’t mistake a grudge for open discussion.

Contrast Stumpette with “The World’s Leading” which takes a wry look at the business (in the UK) but is at least funny and even handed – everyone’s a target.

I’ve written various posts that address this issue of PR’s death, but given people still keep writing them, I think it’s OK that I keep rebutting.

Update: Some other good commentary added

Foremski-link:

Strumpette-links:

PR around the world…

Many years ago (I can’t believe it’s only three) we had the first Global PR blog week.

It was a fantastic undertaking and the first time that PR bloggers from around the world came together, worked together and delivered some pretty good content.

News is out that Constantin is kicking off Global PR Blog Week 3.0.

Hurrah!

Send him feedback on the format of the event, volunteer your time, your expertise etc.

This is a worthwhile venture and you my even show “experts” that there’s life in the PR business yet :-)

The changing face on online marketing…

McKinsey have released a survey on how companies are undertaking marketing online and how they see the market changing over the next three years. [Free registration Required]

I won’t regurgitate the entire survey here as the report makes interesting reading.  Spending in online marketing is (unsurprisingly) expected to increase.

In 2010 respondents expect a majority of their customers to discover new products or services online and a third to purchase goods there. A majority of the respondents also expect their companies to be getting 10 percent or more of their sales from online channels in 2010—twice as many companies as have hit that mark today. These expectations appear to be driving plans for future spending, at least in some areas.

By 2010 respondents believe that the top activities customers will be undertaking online are:

  1. Searching for information
  2. Becoming aware of new products
  3. Using services (support, after-sales etc)
  4. Comparing prices
  5. Buying products and services

Why blogs expand the mind

You know, we live in crazy times.  We lurch from crisis to crisis, balancing meetings, launches, deadlines and work-life balance while often struggling and failing to keep a perspective on what is really important.

Blogs have their drawbacks, there’s loads of ill-informed opinion positioned as expertise.  There’s too much content and not enough time.

But at the same time you can get lucky and blunder into something fantastic that without blogs you probably would have missed.

If you haven’t already heard of Randy Pausch, you will in a minute and it’s worth the wait, believe me.

I found out about him while catching up on the writing of some of the people I met and saw at the Podcamp Ireland event in Kilkenny last weekend.

Reading Grannymar’s blog I stumbled onto Stephen Neill’s blog Paddy Anglican and that’s where Randy Pausch comes in.

Randy is a professor at Carnegie Mellon, and at the age of 46 has discovered he has terminal cancer.

He decided to give his last lecture in public, not just to close the book on his career but as something for his kids to have, to understand his values and what he stood for.

Watch the news report below and you can also find a link to the full lecture at the end of the post.

An incredible man and a fantastic opportunity for us all to stop and think about where we are, where we’re going and what’s important.

So while there’s loads of rubbish filling blogs all over the Interweb, don’t forget there’s some gold nuggests there for those with some time.

You can watch the full lecture here.