Posted by Amanda Chapel
The Ultimate Failure of “Naked Conversations”
Well, if you've been following the soap opera "As the Blog Turns," in this week’s drama we have speaker, trainer and prominent blogger Kathy Sierra being harassed off the air so to speak as a result of a series of blog comments. They were indeed of a most graphic and sexual nature. One commenter reportedly wrote “fuck off you boring slut.” Certainly, off color; when combined with “I hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob,” vile and depraved. In a word, Yikes! And then add the fact that it seemed to be coming from other prominent bloggers Frank Paynter, Jeneane Sessum, and Allen Herrel. Double Yikes!! It was when these “meankids.org” posted a photo of a noose next to her head, and apparently one of their members commenting "the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size," that the refs blew the whistle. OUT OF BOUNDS!!! The stadium erupted and a virtual riot ensued.
1. Kathy canceled public appearances and suspended her blog.
1. The comments were certainly ugly.
WHAT IT MEANS
Here’s the deal. Maybe humans are NOT supposed to be “naked.” Maybe, “open community” is an oxymoron. Maybe at our very core, past all the PR and manufactured smiles, we’re just not that nice. That in mind, Kathy’s words have far greater import: “I do not want to be part of a culture where this is done not by some random person, but by some of the most respected people in the tech blogging world. People linked to by A-listers like Doc Searls and Chris Locke. I do not want to be part of a culture of such hypocrisy where Jeneane Sessum can be a prominent member of Blogher, a speaker at industry conferences, an outspoken advocate for women's rights, and at the same time celebrate and encourage a site like meankids -- where objectification of women is taken to a level that makes plain old porn seem quaintly sweet.”
Bottom line: "Naked Conversations" is a dismal failure. So’s Cluetrain for that matter. Who would have thought that when we marginalized communications power and leveled all hierarchies... that the commons would become the cesspool of human existence? Well, I’ll tell you. Pretty much ANY idiot with common sense, anyone who’s ever studied history, anyone who’s had siblings and shared a bathroom, anyone who’s ever been to a Cubs game, or taken public transportation. I skeeve. There's a reason why the sale of Purell hand-sanitizing lotion is brisk.
So... now what do we do? Better question: what do the A-List leaders (blog demagogues) do? Answer: They can either take their ball and go home (Scoble, Rubel, Weil and others would have to actually get real jobs); Or what they can do is call for certain controls, the very antithesis of their platforms, the very things they all along told us they were dismantling on our behalf. In effect, forget the old rules; here are the new rules. Ironically, here’s the new hierarchy. Such is the cycle that defines history. We, of course, need new rules to protect the new rulers. Remember that.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
The boys told us how natural it would be to take a hike in the woods; now that there are snakes allegedly, the girls want to pave the forest. The boys wanted to play ball on the highway; now that someone’s got hit, the parents move to ban traffic.
No. The consequences of banning things that are essential to free speech, commerce and democracy, even if Kathy had actually been harmed let alone the mere perception of threat, is FAR TOO GREAT a price to pay. Debbie Weil says, “Anonymity breeds the worst, foulest behavior in the blogosphere.” For Debbie, surely. Those with weak arguments are some of the loudest voices to ban anonymity; and who can blame them? What they look to ban is criticism.
However subtly, groups use identity to control. "Naked Conversations" co-author Shel Israel recently told a junior who was disagreeing with him: “You do a really fine job of representing yourself and Topaz Partners with integrity. I'm sure this unique style will attract to your agency precisely the clients you deserve.” Dripping with sarcasm, the point was clear: You’re out of line with the accepted belief that I control; there will be negative consequences.” This is how weakness keeps its grip. Disregarding Shel's threat, Adam was subsequently banned from Israel’s blog for doing nothing more than expressing an opposing view.
Ironically, Cluetrain co-author David Weinberger clarifies the issue:
“I” dentity, not our-dentity. It belongs to me. I chose anonymity. Unlike Kathy who recoils, I will fight against any culture (let alone lightweight moron) that thinks it can take that away from me.
Posted by Amanda Chapel
Well, Don King himself could not have scripted this better. At the pre-fight weigh in for PR Industry heavyweights Jack O'Dwyer and Bill Murray, the young challenger Murray cold-cocked the champ leaving him bloodied, incensed and a bit dazed; and then, an all out fracas ensued.
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!
To describe the crazy scene requires a little background. Jack has been the undisputed champ in PR using the Public Relations Society of America as his veritable workout bag for some time. More recently with the hiring of PRSA's new president Murray, some insiders say Jack's really turned up the heat apparently looking to provoke a confrontation. Dogs pee on trees and men fight. Why? Because. It's a testosterone thing. That said, Jack has variously called Murray out literally peppering PRSA with various insults and accusations. "Your mamma!", not quite but almost.
Well, on Friday, Murray, who's been at the helm of the association for less than 8 weeks, decided "enough was enough." He proceeded to send an e-mail to an estimated 500 plus industry "leaders" accusing O'Dwyer of "constant and repetitive requests frequently accompanied by abusive language and threats" followed by "a long series of editorials which are inaccurate."
Murray's jab stopped a hair short of publicly calling Jack a dirty liar. Some believe he did. He said, "Despite PRSA's continued outreach and reams of supporting data and information, the newsletter's PRSA coverage remains antagonistic, misleading and in many cases just wrong."
"In many cases wrong!"? Jack?! Youza!! Jack immediately shouted back, "The letter does not go into specifics of any of the criticisms that have been placed on PRSA by this website."
Well, we immediately asked PRSA for those specifics; and PRSA responded directly. We then presented them to Jack for comment.
What comes to mind? HBO's hit boxing series. JACK "THE HITMAN" O'DWYER VS. BILL "SHOWBIZ" MURRAY, from the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Ct. What follows is the pre-fight sampling. Here Jack and Murray trade blows. Here you'll find Jack's assertions followed by PRSA's answers and then followed by Jack's counter. What a heart-pumping preview of things to come.
FIGHT PROMOTERS ONLY NEED TO AGREE ON TWO THINGS: DATE AND VENUE
In Jack's words:
- "PRSA is simply not answering any of my questions, but talking around them."
- "They’re such hypocrites, saying they believe in the “highest standards of truth and accuracy.”
- "This stuff can’t be covered in an exchange of written materials. The answers and questions are so long that few will read them. Most people have made up their minds about me and PRSA. You could rain down the wildest arguments against PRSA and the loyalist “leaders” won’t listen to one of them."
Jack's right. As such, we STRONGLY recommend that Murray agree to debate Jack in a public forum directly. For the good of the profession, let's set the date and secure the venue today.
Posted by Amanda Chapel
First, a little test: Have you ever stolen your neighbor’s newspaper? Do you fudge a little on you taxes? Have you ever bragged about some get-rich-quick stock you just bought but know little about? And lastly, if assigned, could you roll an old lady for her pension money?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, we’ve got a lucrative career for you. According to Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman PR, the largest independent PR firm in the world, these are boom times for grifting.
In a recent blog post, Richard boasted that his firm was doing gangbusters: “We experienced significant growth in the past three years, with revenues up 36%.” He attributes the increase to four key factors:
1. PR is no longer the organizational news mouthpiece. Today, we are a marketing tool, an anything-goes amorphous fact-unencumbered alternative to advertising.
A DEAL WITH SATAN
Okay, let's put this into perspective. In plain English: A guy pays another guy to create a pretty billboard ad in the local paper. Couple thousand people read the paper and see the ad. Ad makes certain claims but the public knows it’s an ad. Advertiser knows that if he’s too outrageous in his claim(s), he’ll be laughed at and/or prosecuted.
Okay... then technology changes the medium radically. Not a lot of people read the local paper any more; and being bombarded with so many billboards, those ingenious little geeks designed ways so as the public can circumvent ads altogether. Hmmm. What to do. In order to keep selling stuff to meet his monthly projections, guy needs to create something – a stratagem – that delivers his messages (claims) without an ad's tangibility. Double hmmmm.
Out of the shadows, the guy hears: "Psssst... over here... We can establish the runway of trust in the 'new media' environment. Interested?"
"How much?" asks the first guy.
"I can sell it to you for less than you're paying your ad guy."
"Well Hell... it's a deal!"
By definition, a “grifter” or “confidence man” is “a swindler who exploits the confidence of his victim.” "Confidence tricks exploit human weaknesses like greed, dishonesty, vanity, BUT ALSO virtues like honesty, compassion, or the naivety of believing in the existence of something called 'good faith'."
ADDRESSING GRIFTING'S BAD PR
I know. You've read the above and not only are you less interested in becoming a grifter, the thought makes your skin crawl. Well, we've got you covered.
According to David Brain, President & CEO Edelman Europe, "There's a new Jupiter report that says nearly half of all marketers will use social media next year." To help rationalize his activities, David underscores these key points:
Hello! It's Jupiter, a professional research company. And they're calling us "brand advocates." It's respectable now... or so it would appear.
Posted by Amanda Chapel
Show you the money? Forget it. Show me the ROI!
This just in... According to the findings of survey of more than 3,000 top marketing executives worldwide, PR 2.0 will be toast in '07! The 2007 Outlook Survey conducted by the CMO Council demonstrates clearly that "marketing is undergoing substantial changes due to a mandate for chief marketing officers to improve the relevance, accountability and performance of their organizations." Besides widespread restructuring and agency turnover, bottom line: No ticky; No laundry. Looks like real “measurability” will be the death knell of the present corporate experimentation with Web 2.0 and the elusive “conversation.”
Among specific study findings:
“The era of brand-centric marketing is giving way to a new breed of CMO focused on measurable performance and business results,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.
The study concludes that the number one challenge will be to quantify and measure the value of marketing programs and investments, followed by improving efficiency and effectiveness, growing customer knowledge, and improving the ROI of expenditures.
The measurability mandate can be seen clearly in the systems and solutions in which top marketers will invest in 2007. Seventy-five percent of respondents from companies with revenues of more than $500 million plan to deploy a marketing performance measurement dashboard this year, almost twice the number who will invest in the next highest category of system deployment, which is lead generation and qualification. Marketers from smaller companies said lead generation and qualification and email campaign management would be their two top areas of system or service deployment.
Oh, well... looks like the PR 2.0 zealots are again relegated to their parents' basements and will just have to go Twitter with their little buddies on their own time.
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