Interesting PR-related stuff

There has been a drought of interesting things in my RSS feeds recently, the majority of content seems to tirelessly (and boringly) focus on “blah blah is dying or dead” or “blah blah is going to change the world”.

The good news is that today I came across some interesting items I thought I would share.

In a move that will cause widespread dismay among the digerati, the Economist claims blogging has gone mainstream. This would explain the spate of “blogs are dying” posts that have wobbled onto the internet recently.  Of course one could argue that this story appearing in the Economist means that blogs are nearly mainstream but not quite there yet. Hat tip to Mr. Bailey.


While the re-invention of the wheel (or the reinvention of the wheel as something not quite as useful as the wheel) is a passion for many people online, often I find that the simple suggestions are best.  For example what about David Berlind’s suggestion of including a shortened URL in your press release.  Simple, yet makes the link portable across blogs and the shortened world of Twitter. Hat tip to Alice Marshall.


Speaking of Twitter*, Andrew Smith has a nice aggregated post with loads of links to Twitter-related content, including a list of UK journos and a list of UK PRs on eh Twitter from Stephen Davies. [Aside: the UK PR list looks like a most wanted list… and I don’t mean in a good way :-)]


Neville Hobson points to a new list of the Top 150 PR oops sorry Social Marketing blogs. My rule of thumb is never trust a list you’re on, so given I’m at #89 that’s not a good sign.  The good news is I normally drop off them like a stone… so keep an eye on the list, it’ll probably get better with age.


I am a firm believer that you never stop learning.  That’s why I love Dave Fleet’s list of top twelve communications, marketing and social media podcasts.  It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree it’s great to hear different perspectives.



If you reading this in a somewhat confused manner then you are probably someone who has clicked on the Moofer link from the New York Times blog. I feel something of an link-love charlatan as the originator of the Moofer theme is this blog!


Can I ask…  is there actually anything more annoying on a blog or website than those pesky widgets that pop up a browser preview when you hover over a link.  For the love of jebus…


*Twitter: Innocent or Guilty? Interesting or Boring? Indulgent or Philanthropic? The jury is still out having lunch…

Why do I love the interweb?

You know sometimes we take the web for granted.  I often remind people about the days when the only way to get company information was to:


Ring the company’s customer services department (real people in those days) and ask them to send out a brochure – which could take a few weeks

Climb into the car, drive the local business library with a bag of coins and go photocopying

That was in the 1990s, things have moved on rapidly.

Sometimes we forget.

I don’t love the internet for the incessant hyperbole or fact-free opinions, but I do love it its ability to facilitate the sharing of people’s fantastic expertise, experience and perspectives that frankly you never or rarely would have had access to before the internet went mainstream.

A week or so ago Shel Holtz posted a thoughtful and timely piece on communicating layoffs. 

This unfortunately is something that will become an increasing feature of the communications landscape until the global economy improves.

Does it amaze you that now with the click of link you can enrich your own knowledge with the experience of another practitioner? It should.

It’s easy to gloss over the employees left behind while lamenting the loss of those who have gone. After all, they still have jobs. But the victims are gone; it’s the remaining employees you’re counting on to drive the business forward. If they’re paralyzed in the aftermath of the layoff, everything from productivity and innovation to engagement will take a hit. One concern all layoff survivors share is the expectation that they’ll shoulder the work that had been done by those have have left in addition to their existing responsibilities. Explain honestly how the slack will be taken up and what kind of sacrifices will be expected.

Oh and don’t forget the other great think about the internet is the community so come and give me some help.

Where’s Web 2.0’s stamina?

You know it never ceases to amaze me the attention deficit that infects the world of Web 2.0.

In 2003-2004 blogging was going to kill journalism and destroy traditional media because here was a way to publish information fast – and more importantly anyone with access to an Internet connection could publish their thoughts and opinions for everyone to read (they were simpler times).

Four years later the whispers about the decline of blogging have started. Seemingly Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are the way forward. Blogging is too slow and too much like hard work.


This lack of stamina is a serious challenge for Web 2.0.  It takes time for anything to get established into the mainstream.  It takes even more time for behaviours to change so that habits form.

If you keep leaping from one widget to the next, then you’re probably going to struggle bringing the majority of the population with you.  This may not effect many of the digital pioneers, but for those who want everyone to participate (which will never happen in my mind) this is a serious barrier.

Blogging may have lost the shiny quality of the new new thing, but it’s established and provides some great benefits.  Many bloggers I talk to have admitted that since using Twitter they’ve found less time to blog. For me, Twitter is an interesting side show, but I still enjoy reading blogs, enjoy hearing people’s opinions and learning.

From a PR perspective the starting point in great communications is identifying and understanding your audience. Looking past the hype (unless your client is a web 2.0 widget producer) and having insight into where your audience is, how they’re finding information, and how they’re sharing information, is far more important than the new new thing.

Guess what, even in this difficult economic environment, traditional media is alive, and so is blogging.

What a surprise.

Thanks to Richard Bailey for dangling the bait in front of me…

Social networks for PR and media, online video, future of news, blog product reviews and web 2.0.. what’s that all about?

Rex Riepe was in touch about the launch of a new social network for PR people and journalists called IvyLee. From the site:

IvyLees seeks to revolutionize the way PR professionals and journalists interact. The site provides a tool-based social network at no cost, an exciting alternative to traditional media tools. Members can distribute and receive news from any industry at their own convenience by sending news releases, pitching story ideas, building media lists, creating association pages, and inviting other users to continue expanding their personal network. University of Central Florida alumni Rex Riepe and Greg Allard established the site in 2008.

It’ll be interesting to see if the poor downtrodden journalists wish to network with their PR colleagues :-)

Douglas Simon of D S Simon Productions Inc was in also touch about a survey they’ve published on “Web Influencers”. You can view a video from Douglas on the survey here (registration required).

Is this the future of news? It’s an interesting post from Mr. Rubel.  It’s certainly interesting and I’m sure is something that the avid online media consumer will like, but the question is: Does this stuff all require too much work by the casual user/consumer? I don’t know, but I’d like to know.

Speaking of the future, is this the product review model of the future? FuelMyBlog is a a little confusing, it’s a kind of social media network for bloggers that also offers the opportunity for registered bloggers to review products. [Via Eoin Kennedy.]

Finally, a very interesting post about Web 2.0 written by Dennis Howlett posted on Chris Brogan’s blog via Peter Himler – if you can follow that. It’s a balanced piece calling for people to start demonstrating real, tangible and most importantly understandable benefits.

I believe the biggest barrier though has come in the use of terms and language that simply don’t resonate with business. In my social psychologist trained mind, the term ’social media,’ a cornerstone of web 2.0, is one of the most egregious abuses of a term I’ve seen since the early days of ERP. After three years of listening to definitions of the term I can guarantee that 99% of the press releases I see are exactly the same as those I would have received 5, 10 or even 20 years ago. They’re still dopey, riddled with double speak and wrung dry of useful content. So where’s the value in all this socmed stuff? Show me how customer service has radically improved as a result of applying web 2.0/social media services? Where are those most forward of technology adopters – banks – in all this? What about the main consulting groups that drive adoption inside big business? Heck, I’ve got them calling me up – so you know it’s got to be bad.