Tom Murphy – Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy blogging about PR and other things since 2002…

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Are you a communications professional or a pundit?

April 25th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media

The recent ‘conversation’ on the death of blogs forced me to sit down and write a blog post.  It takes a lot to encourage me to blog these days,  but then upon reviewing my wise, well written draft, I realized I didn’t want to post it.

Last month marked a full decade that I’ve had a blog. What started with an explosion of posts about everything PR-related, has matured into a trickle of rants and opinions mostly due to the increasing demands of family and work. The prioritization hasn’t been difficult.

Over the past ten years there have been incredible changes in marketing, PR and communications. New tools and channels have emerged, we’ve seen people finding and sharing information in new ways. But there’s also a lot of hot air.

Too many people have a predilection to declare the ‘death’ of something, or the compulsion to add the word ‘social’ to every noun in the dictionary, or the desire to critique things without any knowledge or insight.

This is where I see the difference between professionals and pundits emerging.

Professionals think about their objectives, their environment and audiences, their goals, their strategies, their tactics and their measurement.  They think about the return on the investment from their programs and campaigns.  They have to marry pragmatism with creativity, to balance costs with invention.  These are challenges they face every day. This group includes educators and academics who invest time, energy and insight into reviewing the real impact of social media.

These people don’t focus on the tactic, the tool, or the navel gazing. 

That’s the pundit’s job.

There’s a place for pundits.  We need people looking beyond the day to day grind.  We just don’t need so many.

When you think it can’t get any worse you read this:

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If true, this only serves to confirm there are a lot of villages out there missing their idiots and perhaps some of their pundits too.

Klout is the perfect example. It’s simple to understand (in theory), doesn’t require any significant investment of time to analyze, and because it can be inherently gamed it’s useless as anything other than a measure of someone’s noise online. It’s like when you come across a ‘marketer’ you’ve never heard of with 75,000 followers on Twitter.  Sure you do. No really. Sure….

Ten years on, I’ve never regretted starting a blog or embracing social media. I’ve met some incredible people I probably would never have met without social media. I’ve reconnected with long lost colleagues and friends and I have a better view of what’s happening around the world than I’ve ever had before.

From a professional perspective social media has opened exciting new opportunities. It’s encouraging more creative ways of communicating, it’s revolutionizing our focus on storytelling and it’s enabling us all to engage and have conversations.

It’s just a pity there’s so much fluff and hyperbole inside the echo chamber.

C’est la vie.

PS: For the record, blogs are a tool.  They offers a range of benefits for many organizations, but they are a tool not a strategy.  If you’re not getting the appropriate return on your investment in blogging (and to know that you are of course measuring it) then you should absolutely reinvest your resources where you will get a greater return.  It’s not about death, it’s about professional decision making.  There’s no drama here no matter how much some wish there was.

PPS: If you’ve gone all old school and are – god forbid – thinking of starting a blog, two pieces of advice.  Firstly don’t underestimate the commitment and secondly for the love of all things holy put some thought into a compelling and memorable first post….

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Cameron

    I agree blogs can be a great tool and can be an easy and effective way for a person to get their word out. They can also help people gain contacts.

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