Tom Murphy – Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy blogging about PR and other things since 2002…

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Help… I think I’m a middle of the road digital PR guy…

July 10th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Public Relations

I can think of no greater insult (speaking personally) than being described as “middle of the road”. 

Anyone who knows me can probably can attest to the fact I’m a little excitable and certainly opinionated :-)

But I am increasingly coming to the realisation that as time goes on, when we’re discussing online PR, I am middle of the road.

How have I come to this realisation?

Well I have come to recognise that change takes time, and in most cases change takes longer than we think or expect.

I don’t agree or support the view that traditional media is close to death, or that people are willing to spend 16 hours a day checking feeds, sites and blogs.

I do believe that we’re seeing an evolution. 

Things are changing, no question.  The online world is becoming more important every day and every single PR practitioner needs to understand and participate in this new world.

At the same time, while I think that in general the PR business is beginning to realise the change taking place and understand how it impacts our audiences and how we communicate and reach people, I am sometimes stunned by the perceptions and beliefs of some of my less-enlightened brethren.

I met with a student today as part of their her thesis on crisis communication. (I think they interview me as the control looney.)

Her research found that a sizeable proportion of PR people surveyed believed (and I’m paraphrasing here) that online wasn’t a priority at a time of crisis. She also found that many practitioners believed that the “poor writing” and “poor presentation” of web sites and blogs meant that many felt they were inappropriate outlets for their clients.

Oh my lord.

In Ireland, probably more than most countries, traditional media remains the most important outlet to reach the masses, but online is increasingly important.

The idea that online doesn’t matter, or because a blog hasn’t gone through a rigorous editorial procedure, that it’s not suitable or relevant – with no knowledge of its reach – is ludicrous.

So you see, I am middle of the road when it comes to online PR.

I have multiple blogs, dip my toe into Twitter, social networking etc., but I also recognise that the best form of communication is face-to-face, that the traditional media remains a vibrant and welcome part of our media landscape and that while changes are taking place, nothing is dying (bar the fax probably and look how long that’s taken).

Excuse me while I fetch my slippers, turn up the fire and work on my model railway.

Sigh.

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    [...] guess time would be the major reason we are also middle-of-the-road PR people. We dabble on blogs, social networking, Twitter but aren’t totally gung-ho – should [...]

  • On the Fence (and Other PR Blog Jots) « Media Bullseye – A New Media and Communications Magazine

    [...] On the Fence Murphy’s Law While aghast at reading a student’s thesis indicating that many in PR and business still don’t see the value in blogs and other online sources, Tom Murphy does note that while he enthuses over social media, it is not necessarily the most important tool in the shed. It’s a post after CustomScoop’s own Jen Zingsheim’s heart, as she frequently opines that people can sometimes get too worked up on social media, and ignore the basics. “I have multiple blogs, dip my toe into Twitter, social networking etc., but I also recognise that the best form of communication is face-to-face, that the traditional media remains a vibrant and welcome part of our media landscape and that while changes are taking place, nothing is dying (bar the fax probably and look how long that’s taken).” Pitching Pulver Jeff Pulver Blog Pitching bloggers is always a dicey undertaking for those new to conducting social media outreach programs. Pitching a blogger like Jeff Pulver adds another layer of difficulty–he is extremely well-known, travels frequently, what’s the best approach? No worries, he’ll tell you. “The next time you decide to solicit a blogger with the pitch of a client, imagine we are both meeting at a cocktail party. Imagine I don’t know you and we are meeting for the first time. What is the first thing you would say to me? I don’t think it would be the same words that you would have otherwise used when doing your “pray and spray” email solicitations about your client’s shiny new product or service. No, I think you would first introduce yourself and look for something in common between us. And then only if you were feeling comfortable would you try to pitch me on behalf of your client.” Sleight of Missile Dave Fleet While I roll my eyes in disgust at the frequent atrocities to the human female form via Photoshop and women’s magazines (something my favorite girly blog calls “Photoshop of Horrors”), I never figured that foreign military regimes would get in on the action. Dave Fleet reports that it seems Iran (or someone) has juiced up a photo of missile testing. They’ve swapped bigger chests and tinier waists for extra missiles. (Make your own gender stereotyping joke here.) He notes that several news outlets published the doctored photo and were forced to print retractions. “This isn’t the first time news organizations have fallen for altered photographs – in 2006 Reuters apologized after publishing images of war-torn Lebanon that proved to have been edited, and in 2007 the LA Times published allegedly altered photos of US-manufactured weapons found in Iran. Who says it’s only bloggers that get things wrong?” [...]

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