Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Don't use technology just because it's there…

The widespread adoption of e-mail caused a lot of people to get lazy.  Rather than calling someone or setting up face-to-face meetings, people started using e-mail for tasks it is not suited to – just because it was easier.

For example, think of all the executives who have blasted their management team via an e-mail, only for their communication to make it outside the firewall and harm their business.

I am hoping we’re not going to see a similar trend with blogging.

Steve Rubel points to some recent examples of interviewees who were unhappy with the quotes attributed to them following media interviews. They both decided to highlight the perceived errors on their weblogs.

Now I don’t have any particular issue with that, after all blogs provide a great platform for opinions, however we shouldn’t view this practice as an end in itself.  It’s also important that if you’re (justifiably) unhappy with the result from an interview you should contact the journalist and discuss it.  That’s what building relationships is all about and that is the cornerstone of good communication.

Let’s look at an example. 

John Battelle was unhappy with the quotes attributed to him in a New York Times story on Google by Saul Hansell:

I now see the Times piece. Well, it sure makes me out as anti-Google. I did say everything that I am quoted to say, however the context is off on the first section.

However, Saul posts a response pointing out that the comments were in fact in context and John recants.

Now there’s nothing wrong with using a blog to put forward your side of a story or your opinions, but just because it’s an easy way to respond doesn’t mean it’s the right way. 

There’s no question that transparency is a two-way street and in that vein, I believe that the journalist deserves a right of reply, contact them and raise your concerns in a constructive manner, often you’ll discover that you were incorrect, often you’ll discover they were wrong but at least you have closed the loop and are free to post your side of the story.  Of course the positive aspect of the Battelle-Hansell episode is that there is a conversation taking place.

I would however recommend that before you decide to post about how you were misquoted, you think about the best, most beneficial way to address your percieved injustice.  Good communication isn’t a one way street.

Footnote:

In Steve’s original post he states:

“I can see a day coming soon where other senior execs will say, “Mr. Reporter, send me your interview questions and I will post my responses on my blog.” This won’t fly for everyone, but it will for those who have been burned and are powerful enough to exert such control.”

My view is that it’s highly unlikely that any journalist would ever agree to such terms.  I also fervently hope that if any executive was stupid or ignorant enough to try it, that the journalist, in the spirit of transparency, would post the executive’s request in a prominent position in the publication or website or blog… Executives demanding control over media content isn’t about the new era of transparency, conversation or openness. No folks that’s old fashioned control.

 

Written by Tom Murphy

April 27, 2005 at 8:54 am

Posted in General

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