Posted by Mark Rose
The big news this week was that Hillary Clinton displayed a hint of cleavage on the Senate floor. This elicited a major story in the Washington Post and reaction from news organizations, bloggers and candidates. Supposedly, the sight of cleavage sent Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter to gasping fits and required respirators to be brought in so the Senate could continue its endless interrogation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who fortunately could not recall the incident. “The Cleavage Conundrum,” as the New York Times calls it, continues to dominate the presidential campaign.
Also in the news: Uber, A-list, mega blogger Steve Rubel, the shiny head Yoda, incorrigible link whore and Edelman client pimp, showed he is as fascinated with his iPhone as a teenage boy would be discovering his penis. The pleasure he derives from playing with it is nearly orgasmic. When he tires of the iPhone he Twitters away about what other uber bloggers like Scoble and Winer are doing, sort of a circle jerk of chattering monkeys fascinated with themselves. Once in a while he mentions public relations like it is a far off concept someone out there might be involved in, usually in the context of promoting social media to benefit an Edelman client. We asked a stray bum down at the Pike Place Market in Seattle if he thought Rubel might be jumping ship to review consumer electronics for C-Net, where he seemingly belongs. The bum had no comment.
Posted by Mark Rose
I poked Amanda Chapel this week. I was respectful, took proper precaution and I think it was good, if not brief, for both of us. Emboldened by my first successful poke on Facebook I began to poke others. With all this indiscriminate poking going on it’s no wonder that this online community is propagating at an alarming rate.
A “poke” on Facebook is equivalent of saying ‘yo, wassup’ and then moving on until you get some kind of response. You poke, gather friends, join groups, add all kinds of widgets and doohickeys to your profile and something is supposed to happen. Your life changes? You find the perfect mate, the perfect job, zing! make that connection you dreamed of your whole life? Or you simply waste more time futzing around the Net.
I was poking and futzing and jabbing all over the place this week because of the disturbing post on Strumpette last Monday – see A FIRST: Strumpette Spares Life of WOMM Evangelist. The post was about the ‘White Paper’ offered by Paul Rand and Giovanni Rodriquez on behalf of the Council of PR firms. The White Paper was a ‘call to action’ to critically discuss the “traditional vs. conversational” PR debate. So naturally, with this enticement, I was prepared to throw myself into the big conversation. The problem was that nobody was talking.
Amanda sent out an email to heads of many of the top PR firms to join the debate. No takers. A scan around the blogs of the PR firm CEOs showed no activity except an occasional pronouncement about how we have to stop controlling messages and learn to have conversations. Isn’t it obviously ironic to issue a statement about having a conversation and then refusing to engage in dialogue? Isn’t this the essence of the problem with PR, saying one thing and doing another?
So I retreated to the Strumpettes group on Facebook and started a discussion called “Where’s the conversation?” That went nowhere but a discussion started by David-James Vaughan titled “Is blogging dead?” sparked some intriguing responses and a smattering of a debate. I am beginning to think that perhaps the answer to that question is yes, or at least possibly. Like all movements that capture a “moment” there is an initial euphoria, a peak, then a decline. Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, as George Harrison used to sing, and the fantastic proliferation of blogs makes meaningful dialogue harder to find.
David-James, a graduate student in Ottawa, ON, is listed as ‘VP Recruitment & Outreach’ for the Strumpettes Facebook group. This is a good choice since David-James apparently has no trouble in his personal recruitment efforts. He has an astounding 506 Facebook friends, most of whom are smiling, attractive, bright-looking women. Hey D-J, is everybody in Canada that healthy looking?
Posted by Mark Rose
All week long I heard the coyote howl as the moon, a waning crescent, receded further. It is the season of the coyote, not just here in the Olympic Mountains, but throughout the land as Trickster reveals itself in many permutations. The Makah, on the coast of the Olympic Peninsula and the Colville east of the Cascades have their legends of Trickster and you can see its handiwork often on Strumpette and through those who practice public relations on a higher level. The coyote alerts us to its presence, teases us with illusions, and then disappears into the woods. Where will it pop up again? Trickster Makes This World, here we'll attempt to navigate through it.
There were some fireworks on Strumpette last week, beginning with the Weinberger vs. Keen intellectual brawl that seemed oddly like a breakthrough and sparked its own brawl between Amanda and Jeff as to meaning, intonations, words, intent and the disruptive forces we live with. Growing up in public relations meant suspension of critical thinking, suspension of opinion, as we become empty vessels to be filled by client’s billable hours. Open, intellectual sparring is new to this profession and threatens the ad and marketing guys for primacy in the discussion about communications. PR is still the poor step child in the communications mix – we don’t get that money on the table being allocated for ‘new media’ or Internet-based strategies. But at least we are driving the dialogue.
Speaking of dialogue, MWW CEO Michael Kempner has not posted on his blog “Straight Talk,” for over five weeks. Aedhmar Hynes, CEO of Text 100 International, has not met a Monday deadline for her blog “Monday Morning” since May 3. A scan around for PR firm CEOs shows little or no blogging activity, except for Richard Edelman who has been a consistent blogger since he launched almost three years ago. You see mostly bland statements, constricted, safe analysis, and repetitive PR for PR. The top PR firms went on a blog binge and then realized they had nothing to say. Or, as in the case of Kempner, you wondered why anybody led them to believe they had something to say in the first place. A brief tour around the PR blogosphere:
- Harold Burson on his blog is troubled by the notion of “great results with a ridiculously low budget.” Really? Is he more comfortable with no results for an absurdly inflated budget?
- Fleishman-Hillard titillates us with this oh-so-sexy come-on: “The FH Kansas City and FH D.C. Digital Communications teams united during tax season 2006 to plan and execute a digital strategy to compliment H&R Block's first annual National Tax Advice Day (NTAD).” Oh behave, you wild people at F-H. Is it true that the account team on this worked in the nude to feel the raw power of this cataclysmic story?
- At Weber Shandwick we see that the big message is “Today, we’re putting advocacy at the heart of everything we do,” meaning that yesterday they were not your advocates and tomorrow, well, you’re on your own. We heard from unreliable sources that Weber Shandwick CEO Harris Diamond bitch slapped MWW’s Michael Kempner when he advocated too heartily for Hillary Clinton on his blog, so this may be mere smokescreen. Client advocacy may be a radical notion at Weber Shandwick. They need time to get used to the idea slowly.
- B.L. Ochman, occupying a paranormal black hole, offered that we should re-read the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July. Get it – July 4th, independence? Anyway, we are sorry to hear that B.L.’s cat, Blogola, had to be euthanized when its tongue caught fire after licking the hot Nikon D80 camera as it was attempting to take a self-portrait. We have not received the copy of the report MWW reputedly issued to Nikon claiming this as a “hit,” complete with a blurry close-up of sizzled cat tongue.
- And it was reported here last week by Amanda Chapel that Burson-Marsteller CEO Mark Penn has been accused of illegal wiretapping. Penn’s bio on the B-M site states: “Mark has been called "Master of the Message" by Time Magazine; "The king of polls" by the London Times; and an "incandescent intellect" by the New York Times.” We heard that PR Wreck is contemplating naming Penn “King of Bull,” but the competition is stiff.
Lastly, we heard that Penn’s defense is that he has an ability to intuit messages telepathically and to transmit them wirelessly through Bluetooth devices, and this actually qualifies him to be his own branch of government (not that new branch currently occupied by Dick Cheney). If Penn kills himself it will naturally be assumed that it was because he was having an affair with Hillary Clinton.
We should not jump to conclusions. It could just be the baying of the Trickster.
Mark Rose is founder and CEO of RosePR/new media, offering best-of-breed digital communications strategies and resources. He is also editor of PRBlogNews , a web publication focusing on public relations practices in the digital age.
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