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”

<rant>

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?

</rant>

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┬áthe ‘General Confession in the Book of Common Prayer’. Unusual, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Apologies for the prolonged absence… found myself press ganged by a group of Tibetan freedom fighters in Finsbury Park – not sure which bit was worse, being taken halfway round the world to indulge in hand to hand combat with Nepalese guerillas in an epic struggle to regain the sixteen square feet of the Himalayan foothills that is known as pni folong (roughly translates as “boggy patch”) or finding myself back in the Manor House neck of the woods for the first time in many a long year – some things just never change.

Anyway, among the seemingly endless lists of hapless flacks being soundly and justifiably beaten up by hacks who don’t have the time to respond to these releases (but manage to find the time to blog about how they don’t have the time to respond to releases) there have been a couple of interesting posts concerning the incredible liberties that some hacks take with this new-fangled internet technology and how mindlessly easy it has become to ask everyone for a favour, but few on the quality of the tech press. Now I’ve been vociferous on the whole issue of whether individuals should be exposed, so I’m not about to step over my own lines, but I hope the article on Coputers gets a proper kicking by the subs involved, otherwise I’ll have to buy dozens of copies and distribute them with a little note that says….

QUERY: Computers, Broadcast and Television equipment, Coputer hardware, Coputers Software, mobile phones, media players, PDA’s, motorbikes, technology,lifestyle, coputers business, marketing…

And if I’m not mistook, TWL is currently running not one but TWO competitions/awards affairs at the same time! And sponsored by Edelman no less…

Anonymity Or Not?

June 13, 2007

Is the Spud hiding behind a pseudonym through fear? Insecurity? Do I have some libellous information to post? One thing the Spud is doing right now is trying to work out which part of the following is the most preposterous:

Anonymous said…

Hang on a minute, isn’t the Spud blogging anonymously?? So what’s Ian Green getting so defensive about?As Ian himself puts it: “If you want to engage in the conversation – please reveal yourself.”

Why should posters not remain anonymous while the very bloggers they comment on are doing the same?

Spud (more or less) said:

I don’t feel like I’m anonymous, at least not to the same degree. Spudgun is a young blog right now, but the spud’s personality will become more apparent with each post and you’ll have an idea of what the spud is all about. And now you know where to find me

Anon, on the other hand, is and remains completely and utterly anon.

So I’m going to leave it to you guys to decide whether you feel that the Spud’s real life identity is of the national interest and should be disclosed under FoI legislation…

Should all commenters be forced at least to make up a name? After all, if the spark of imagination is bright enough for them to have something to say, surely there’s enough there to think up a name? I’ve got into plenty of discussions in the comments on other peoples sites, that die a death because there’s five or six anons posting, and no one has any idea who’s saying what, and to whom.

Would any contribution I might make be more valid if my identity was public knowledge? Is the same true for, say TWL. A blog with a history, a personality, but an anonymous blog none the less – not hidden, but anonymous. Or The Friendly Ghost? Or maybe even the myriad blogs that exist outside of our little world. I could go on…

In the Same League…?

June 10, 2007

Watch out! The Friendly Ghost has been compiling stats again! This time a ‘league table’ if you like of the top 70 or so PR bloggers.

It’s an interesting table for lots of reasons, not least the frequent discrepancies between Alexa/Technorati/Bloglines et al, but mostly for the fact that it includes the spud. Yup, the spud is there. True, you have to scroll a long way down to find us, but there we are – right at the bottom with nul points. Not that we mind – this blog had been live for a whole two days at the time of TFG’s post – so despite the lack of points we’re rather flattered to be included in such esteemed company.

Hopefully the next revision of TFG’s figures will see a change at the bottom, in the meantime, must try harder…