... and then the other shoe dropped... and a couple more after that. I'm tellin' ya; it's been a tough month for all those involved in the social networking scam. PR's goose that laid the golden egg is now apparently under indictment.
Here St. Thomas, touch these wounds for yourself:
- Last month, founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, put out an edict that in effect forever bans PR from the web's #1 reference site. In his words, "I think that PR firms editing in a community space is deeply unethical, and that clients should pressure their PR firms not to embarrass them this way." Excuse me, read that again! That's not only forty thousand plus PR practitioners globally locked out as a source for credible information. That's an entire industry reduced to unethical and an embarrassment. Yikes!
- Then the Consumerist does an expose of a rather smarmy Edelman flack, Mike Krempasky. In a related link, Mike is characterized as "a shill acting the part of arbitrator; but remember, the aggressor, the environmental polluter, abuser of women and children laborers, and destroyer of local economies, Wal-Mart, pays his salary to disguise these facts." Eww. And I understand that he's one of the nicer ones.
- And just this week the award-winning new-media guru Mike Manuel wrote "Alright, timeout, we need to fix something. For all the enthusiasm and energy that I and so many other PR folks have put into blabbering about social media these last few years, especially blogs, our zeal for participation may very well be our undoing." I guess.
- And yesterday AdAge reports that, "Less than three months after launching its social-networking site aimed at teens, Wal-Mart has shut it down. Wal-Mart's first attempt to enter the teen social-networking scene has gone down in flames." Hate to be an I-told-you-so.
Now... are ya connecting some of the dots there bubba? While yer at it, ya wanna make sure that seat cushion is a flotation device.
The boon social networking was supposed to bring PR -- the promise and all the glory, riches and respect for even Phil Gomes -- seems all but gone. Apparently, PR on the web has become synonymous with spam. There seems to be now an overwhelming rejection of any unsolicited commercial message period, especially by the younger generation.
Ah-Oh! So... what if this anti-PR sentiment becomes the de facto standard of social networking? Read the full story next Tuesday.