Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for October 2008

Can you stop taking credit for everything?

So to get you all up to speed on the subject of this post (especially those living outside the UK), two “comedians” on the BBC have gotten into hot water for a prank call (in poor taste) on a radio show.

CaptureInitially there were a small number of listener complaints but some UK newspapers (potentially with an axe to grind) wouldn’t let the issue drop and their continuous coverage of the issue brought matters to a head. 

Subsequently Russell Brand has resigned and Jonathan Ross has been suspended.

Listening to the analysis of the snafu as it developed – and the role the national press played – the thought occurred to me how long would it be before the usual suspects started claiming that in a Trent Lott-like development somehow social media has caused the issue to come to a head.

It didn’t take long.

People are now claiming that social media was central to the whole affair. 

Eh not it wasn’t.

This need to justify social media’s central role in everything that happens, is at best unappealing.

The world is a crazy, mixed up place. It’s far more complex that many people seem willing to accept, which is why the simplistic and naïve view of social media being the death knell of traditional media (and everything else that pre-dates 2002) is misguided.

For the immediate future we’ll see social media and traditional media living alongside side each other, sometimes operating independently, sometimes together.

But let’s be grown up and stop trying to give credit where it’s not due.

There’s enough hype out there already…

Supplemental:

If someone advanced the argument that the traditional media got this issue into the mainstream and that social media fanned the flames by providing access to the footage in the studio and fostered online debate, I’d absolutely buy that. But then that’s all about the integration of traditional and new media.  That’s what we’re talking about 🙂

Written by Tom Murphy

October 31, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Posted in General

The life of the indignant comment spammer

A rather amusing incident occurred today. I was beavering away on one of my work related blogs when within minutes of a post going live, a new comment appeared.

The comment was relevant to the post, but then I noticed that the “commenter’s” URL was clearly comment spam – I obviously won’t reproduce it here.

Aside:

Now I had heard that spammers were circumventing technologies like Captchas (a technology which stops spammers doing automated sign ups) by employing lowly paid humans to physically register for hundreds of web sites – they’re called Captcha Solvers.

But I hadn’t come across blog spam solvers, but they’re out there.

Anyhow, I deleted/declined the comment and within seconds received an incredibly indignant reply querying why I had declined a relevant comment and suggesting I should change my mind.

Needless to say a quick challenge on the URL omitted no further response.

Clearly there are now armies of blog spam solvers monitoring RSS feeds and diving in with “relevant” comments with spam URLs.

Innovation is alive and well… even if it’s unpleasant.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Posted in General

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.

Sigh

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…

Written by Tom Murphy

October 24, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Posted in General

It’s the week for them obviously…

You know we should all try and be more reasonable here, there are too many people taking themselves too seriously online. I hope I’m not turning into one of them.

Post my last rant, this e-mail appeared today:

“As a blogger on public relations or marketing, you may be interested in commenting on the…”

 

Can you imagine pitching a story to a reporter in a similar fashion:

“Hi, as a journalist writing about fashion or automobiles or household products, you may be interested in writing about…”

And that pitch was about media montoring…

Written by Tom Murphy

October 24, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Posted in General

It’s the week for them obviously…

You know we should all try and be more reasonable here, there are too many people taking themselves too seriously online. I hope I’m not turning into one of them.

Post my last rant, this e-mail appeared today:

“As a blogger on public relations or marketing, you may be interested in commenting on the…”

 

Can you imagine pitching a story to a reporter in a similar fashion:

“Hi, as a journalist writing about fashion or automobiles or household products, you may be interested in writing about…”

And that pitch was about media montoring…

Written by Tom Murphy

October 24, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Posted in General

Rant: How you can showcase how you don’t understand the basics of online PR or web 2.0

Ahem. 

Now you may know that I can be something of a contrarian when it comes to all the unbridled excitement you often find associated with “Web 2.0” but let’s park that for the moment. 

If you’re thinking about starting a blog then it’s probably a good idea to do a quick search and discover some useful tips on how to start it, sustain it, promote it.

The basics are pretty easy.  You should probably write about something that you’re interested in, you should be aware that it requires an investment of time, and if you want to get connected then jump in, read other blogs, link to them, comment on things that you find interesting etc. etc..

It does take time, but it’s really not terribly hard.

Of course there is an alternative. 

Start a blog and then pretend that you are far too important to bother wasting your time with the other little bloggers, so rather than getting in touch with them yourself, you get one of your minions to promote your blog for you.

This is the opening of an e-mail I received today:

This blog (the blog his boss writes) is an amazing resource for anyone who works in public relations, who is interested in learning more about developments in this field, or who wants to benefit from the entrepreneurial and aggressive spirit of –name deleted- and –agency name deleted-.  For someone like yourself who maintains a blog about the public relations industry and communications and media trends, –name deleted-‘s blog would offer your readers an insider’s perspective that they undoubtedly would appreciate.

It continues:

The rapid growth of –agency name deleted- was made possible by –name deleted-’s aggressive, results focused orientation and his close relationships with members of the media, key influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities.  Under –name deleted-‘s leadership, –agency name deleted- has used its aggressive and committed talent to represent clients including –poor distressed client list deleted-.  These client experiences, combined with –agency name deleted-’s status as a full-service public relation firm maintaining practice areas in consumer, technology, health and wellness, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion and corporate communications, make –name deleted-’s blog an excellent resource.

–name deleted- is so busy with “his aggressive, results focused orientation”, that he couldn’t be bothered actually taking a few minutes to understand how this internet thingy works. He clearly doesn’t understand the very basics of engaging with people online and I wouldn’t link to his site at risk of death.

Interestingly I did visit his blog to have a look and you’ll be relieved to know that I didn’t see any “insider’s perspective that you undoubtedly would appreciate”.

You won’t be surprised to hear that the poor intern tasked with hyping the blog doesn’t understand the whole blog relations thing either.

(Aside: I wonder is this task the 21st century equivalent of being forced by your boss to ring and ask a journalist had they received the press release, like we were in the old days?)

Thanks for the spam.

Tell your boss thanks for his time.

And I won’t be linking to him.

Thanks

Tom

Written by Tom Murphy

October 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Posted in General

Rant: How you can showcase how you don’t understand the basics of online PR or web 2.0

Ahem. 

Now you may know that I can be something of a contrarian when it comes to all the unbridled excitement you often find associated with “Web 2.0” but let’s park that for the moment. 

If you’re thinking about starting a blog then it’s probably a good idea to do a quick search and discover some useful tips on how to start it, sustain it, promote it.

The basics are pretty easy.  You should probably write about something that you’re interested in, you should be aware that it requires an investment of time, and if you want to get connected then jump in, read other blogs, link to them, comment on things that you find interesting etc. etc..

It does take time, but it’s really not terribly hard.

Of course there is an alternative. 

Start a blog and then pretend that you are far too important to bother wasting your time with the other little bloggers, so rather than getting in touch with them yourself, you get one of your minions to promote your blog for you.

This is the opening of an e-mail I received today:

This blog (the blog his boss writes) is an amazing resource for anyone who works in public relations, who is interested in learning more about developments in this field, or who wants to benefit from the entrepreneurial and aggressive spirit of –name deleted- and –agency name deleted-.  For someone like yourself who maintains a blog about the public relations industry and communications and media trends, –name deleted-‘s blog would offer your readers an insider’s perspective that they undoubtedly would appreciate.

It continues:

The rapid growth of –agency name deleted- was made possible by –name deleted-’s aggressive, results focused orientation and his close relationships with members of the media, key influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities.  Under –name deleted-‘s leadership, –agency name deleted- has used its aggressive and committed talent to represent clients including –poor distressed client list deleted-.  These client experiences, combined with –agency name deleted-’s status as a full-service public relation firm maintaining practice areas in consumer, technology, health and wellness, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion and corporate communications, make –name deleted-’s blog an excellent resource.

–name deleted- is so busy with “his aggressive, results focused orientation”, that he couldn’t be bothered actually taking a few minutes to understand how this internet thingy works. He clearly doesn’t understand the very basics of engaging with people online and I wouldn’t link to his site at risk of death.

Interestingly I did visit his blog to have a look and you’ll be relieved to know that I didn’t see any “insider’s perspective that you undoubtedly would appreciate”.

You won’t be surprised to hear that the poor intern tasked with hyping the blog doesn’t understand the whole blog relations thing either.

(Aside: I wonder is this task the 21st century equivalent of being forced by your boss to ring and ask a journalist had they received the press release, like we were in the old days?)

Thanks for the spam.

Tell your boss thanks for his time.

And I won’t be linking to him.

Thanks

Tom

Written by Tom Murphy

October 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Posted in General