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?



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…)