PR: Asking questions isn’t terminal…

Isn’t it funny how a little web application can set the InterWeb all a flutter?

The bets are on, some people believe Twitter’s great, some people believe it’s a waste of time and some are making me laugh out loud.

However, I was somewhat surprised to see David Parmet’s post – as I have a lot of time for his opinions – who has taken exception to this post from Clive Armitage.

I actually disagree with the Rex Hammock post, that David references. Rex states that there’s no need for discussion on Twitter because you can ignore it.

The fact is that a lot people are falling all over themselves about it, so it’s equally valid for people to question if it’s as important as people are making out.

In fact they (or should that be “we”!) are doing everyone a favour by questioning the validity of the claims being made about Twitter.

[Disclaimer: I use Twitter by the way. But not every fifteen seconds.]

Earlier this week in Newcastle I had some fun with Jangles [a.k.a Neville] about his Twitter habits. 

Debate is good and healthy.

Where, in my opinion, David steps over the mark, is this:

The problem with most PR people and PR agencies in general. The “I don’t get it so I’ll just ignore it” syndrome that’s led many agencies down the road to extinction.



How can a post where someone offers an opinion that they don’t really understand what the fuss is about mean their on the “road to extinction”.

Give me a break.

So I’m a big old dinosaur as well am I?

It’s VITAL that we question the validity of this new stuff both for our clients and ourselves.

No one is going to be extinct because they don’t see the value in Twitter posts.

No one is wrong to promote or dismiss the validity of a bloody web applet.

Let’s keep this discussion in the real world. I’m only interested in how the new online world is going to effect the work I do for my client or employer.  If I disagree with the pundits who believe that a new widget is changing the world as we know it, my opinion is as valid as theirs.

I stand over my record on new technology – it’s well documented. I welcome debate, but I’ll call out something if I don’t see the value or understand the value and that doesn’t mean I’m stupid or becoming extinct.

It means I’m human.

It’s time we all came down off the moral high ground.

4 thoughts on “PR: Asking questions isn’t terminal…

  1. Absolutely right.As with everything in PR it’s a case of doing what works. I started to use Twitter specifically because I wanted to evaluate it for a client. I decided it worked for that purpose, which is now why Alan Johnson is twittering as part of his bid to become deputy leader of the British Labour Party. I’m still not convinced it has value for me personally, although I do now have some extra practical ideas for how PRs can use it.

  2. I use twitter and think it’s chock-full of some of the most banal tidbits in my life. However, there’s a social media dimension to twitter that several college students have shown me–while avoiding a lot of the time sink that distractions like twitter can bring to life.

    It would be stupid for professional communicators to ignore the way people opt to communicate, even when they don’t agree with the technology or the method used by unfamiliar tribes.

  3. Read Clive’s post again. He’s saying he doesn’t get it ergo it’s trivial. That’s what I object to. And I’ve heard that exact same attitude from plently of PR people about the Web, blogging, podcasting, search engine optimization and a lot of other things we all take for granted today.

    I’m not saying Twitter is important, in fact it probably isn’t. But to dismiss something, as Clive is doing, because you don’t get it, is the surest shortcut to being an out of work PR person.

  4. Sorry David, but you’re making an erroneous assumption; because I said I don’t ‘get’ Twitter doesn’t mean I believe it’s trivial. If you would kindly read the post again, I’m asking for help in understanding its potential value so that I may then ‘get’ it (although I firmly reserve the right to still not ‘get’ it afterwards). If you accept this, it would seem to me that what you are really objecting to is me daring to ask whether a new communications medium is truly useful? If you are, then I suggest you re-read the story tale about The Emperors New Clothes…

    You’re certainly right to say that plenty of PR people have failed to embrace social media. And you’re also right to say that those PR people that don’t accept the rise of social media will become quickly irrelevant and then redundant. But you’re wrong to contend that questioning one new communications development equates to a dismissive attitude towards all other social media.

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