When is a blog not a blog?

September 27, 2007

Coming back round to the important “social media” question, which is obviously “how to pitch to bloggers?” there are still a couple of things that seem to be lost between the “PR2.0” group and the “web2.0” group.

There’s a lot of talk on the PR2.0 side about how to treat bloggers, but there appears to be little direct involvement from the kind of bloggers that most tech PRs want to pitch to, just more of the same from the PR bloggers. On the other side there are the tech blogs that everyone would like to pitch, but make themselves fairly difficult to pitch to. (OK, not necessarily difficult, but the result of this form is effectively going to be an emailed list of bits of info, surely the original release would be better – I mean we do try to make an effort with the releases..!)

On a corporate level, Google’s official blog appears not to be a blog, whereas Yahoo’s is. Is this a collection of blogs? It certainly says that it is. Or this? What about this? Would the real blogs please stand up?

How about a survey? Better still a kind of registration – All tech blog editors are invite to state clearly whether they want to be pitched to or not. And once the call is made, all releases have to be returned unopened! Use the comments here if you want to.

So, to pitch or not to pitch? In other words, how to follow the very sensible “PR2.0” groups eminently sound guidelines?

Can we count on the fact that 90% of the time, if you get your pitch far up enough the “MSM” foodchain, it’ll appear on the blogs in any case. If your clients is at CES or MacWorld, do you need to pitch to, say, engadget, when in the couple of weeks around the two shows appear to throw everything they see onto the site?

What we need here isn’t another stand alone “social media outreach policy” but a bit more input from the target audience – the bloggers, and that can’t happen without their engagement in “the conversation”


Years ago, things were far more clearly defined. Bakers baked bread, students studied, journalists wrote articles for publication in newspapers and magazines, and PR practitioners squirmed, grovelled and bought enormous amounts of food and drink for them in the hope of getting a favourable piece on their client, or on their client’s product.

Then it all changed. The internet (and email PR, for in many cases, that’s about all there is to it) came and allowed us to see far more clearly and easily who was doing what to whom, instead of only seeing the results of all that frantic activity in print.

Today there are a few clearly defined “splinter groups” and they are more visible than ever before. A small group of PR practitioners are currently indulged in the theory of “PR 2.0”, a conversation which includes the usual tags like “the social mediasphere” and the like.

Now, I think that this is all very good, worthwhile stuff. The theory appears to be sound – there are some great minds at work here, but I can’t help feeling that it’s not getting anywhere. The whole thing keeps getting either sidetracked or hijacked by sideshow affairs. Many of them Microsoft related oddly enough. From the tech bloggers who were so very affronted at Edelman and Microsoft’s “long term loan” of new Vista-equipped laptops, to the fawning that goes on around the “bottle of wine as a social object”. I love Hugh’s cards, as well his take on brand and reputation management, but guys, it’s a bottle of wine with one of Hugh’s cartoons on it. A bottle of wine is a social object under pretty much any circumstances. Enough already…

Back to the point – I posted a while back on what seems to be the generally accepted poor health of the UK’s tech PR industry as a whole, on the woeful state of day to day relations between flacks and hacks, and fact that until these issues are looked at on an industry-wide scale, there’s little sign of things changing.

Like I said, the theorising and deconstruction that goes on within these conversations on the future of PR is welcome, inspiring stuff for the rest of us. Most of the time. On the other hand, there are relatively long periods where the conversation drifts into what seems a lot like one of those conversations that you can earwig for hours without quite working out what the subject of the conversation is…

Perhaps it’s time to get back on track?


Where’s Sally?

September 22, 2007

I’m a little worried, Sally Whittle’s blog – Getting Ink – keeps asking me for a password which I don’t have, and then casting aspersions on my credentials (well, I guess the second part is less surprising).

Anyone know what’s up over there?

Among Esteemed Company

September 22, 2007

A quick note to any tech bloggers who may stumble across this page, practice using very long words and referencing obscure characters from Greek mythology…

The ranks of UK tech bloggers have been swollen by the first post from all round national treasure, Stephen Fry. Some may say that a first post on smartphones that runs to over 5000 words sets his own bar pretty high – the man is notoriously busy – and there’s also no predicting if Stephen’s blog will be a strictly tech blog. Although anyone who saw Fry’s incredibly touching documentary on bi-polar disorders (a condition he suffers from himself) will already be aware that he has voracious appetite for gadgetry, from the Apple stable in particular – Fry claims to own the second Mac sold in the UK (the first belonging to Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy).

As you might expect, Fry peppers his post with the kind of uber-intellectual references that we’ve become accustomed to, even signing off with the ‘General Confession in the Book of Common Prayer’. Unusual, I’m sure you’ll agree.

All Gone Mad…

September 22, 2007

Many of you will already be painfully aware of how difficult it can be to get any kind of fun out of 600 words on information security. But I fear I share TWL‘s disbelief that anyone would go to such tenuous extremes as to link Monty Python to BS7799.

All this headscratching comes from an article in BIOS, which opens with a corker:

Monty Python and The Holy Grail made Ben Hur look like an epic…

Well, as far as I’m aware, Ben Hur is an epic – and is so without the Monty’s help. But that’s just being picky. The real fun starts with this, and I’m sure you all recognise the scene…

Prince Herbert’s father is proudly showing his son the kingdom he will inherit. He tells the Prince: ‘All I had when I started was swamp…other kings said I was daft, but I built my castle all the same, just to show ‘em. It sank into the swamp. So I built another one…that sank into the swamp. I built another one…that burnt down, fell over and sank into the swamp. So I built another, and that stayed up…’

Now, there all all sorts of accurate analogies that can be drawn from that scene, about forward planning, about expectation management, well – about loads of stuff. And, according to Jason Holloway of ExaProtect, about IT security…

The lesson is to build the security fortress on solid foundations, using established security frameworks such as COBIT, COSO, ITIL, BS7799 / ISO17799 or the newer ISO27001. These help you implement robust IT and security management processes and determine your control indicators for ongoing security and governance procedures. So your security processes won’t sink into the mud at the first challenge.

It goes on (and on), finding parallels between The Knights who say ”ni” and access to log files, between Lancelot’s crusading flight to the castle tower and false positives from IDS/IPS systems…

At the time of this post, there were no comments on the article, the picture had already formed in my head of hundreds of IT professionals in front of their machines scratching their heads and double-checking that it’s not April 1st.

Sparks Fly

August 3, 2007

San Fran based tech PR agency Spark PR have landed in London. Apparently the US-headquartered independent agency has res­ponded to a demand for pan-European PR services from its client base, which includes both tech start-ups and large venture capital companies. Rachel Bremer (Spark’s Senior Director) says;

“there is a need for good PR firms with really solid tech experience in London”

Please choose the most appropriate response:

  1. There are currently no tech PR firms in London
  2. There are lots of tech PR firms in London, but none of them are any good
  3. Rachel Bremer hasn’t done her homework
  4. Rachel Bremer has done her homework, but has a secret weapon
  5. None of the above (please explain…)

Seems the video ad display for the iPhone, in this Apple store has a little secret…