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?
Antony Mayfield of Brighton and Hove, UK, writes: “A debate about the death of blogging? OK … It’s like a coffee house debate in 17th Century London about whether pamphleteering is dead and the rise of squibs, libels and newspapers will see it off.”
Reacting, D-J quotes “The Pampleteer” by The Weakerthans and injects some poetic observations into the discussion and you think maybe there is a future for this business if the older, settled folk with too much to lose can get out of the way of the young rebels not afraid to shake walls and rattle cages. There are no idle observers in a revolution and exhorting underlings into battle while you hide behind a White Paper will earn you nothing but contempt.
Whenever I get sick of this business of not having conversations about ‘the conversation’ I look to fellow New Yorker Loren Feldman and 1938 Media. If Loren ever issued a White Paper it might be titled Stuff Your Widgets Up Your Ass. Thanks, which is the title of one of his better videos. If you get tired of watching the You Tube video of Lou Piniella kicking dirt on an umpire take some time to watch a handful of Loren’s videos.
This is the essential Loren Feldman video: he sticks his unshaven face about four inches from the camera and rants in a slow just-woke-up or damn-the-world drawl: “Blah blah is an idiot. He is a moron. He doesn’t know what he’s talkin about. Give me a break. You gotta be kiddin me. What an idiot. (add various expletives). Get outta here with that crap. This is Loren Feldman, 1938 Media.”
Do not try this at home, unless you have “the face” and “the voice.” Loren has a face that is a cross between Sal Mineo post “Rebel Without A Cause,” Stanley Tucci if he was a woman, and Gina Lollobrigida if she was a man. If he was an actor he could play a Rabbi or a hitman or the dealer who runs the corner bodega and keeps a baseball bat behind the counter to increase the peace. Check out some of his greatest hits: Anti-Social Media and Guy Kawasaki Is An Asshole. Yue from China is a great recent addition to 1938 Media.
Lastly, David Brain, President & CEO of Edelman Europe, knew that his post “Social Media Index” on his SixtySecondView blog would be controversial and it is. Through some incomprehensible equation he concocted with Jonny Bentwood (Brain and Bentwood, these two should go into business together) he attempts to rate the influence that PR/marketing/business/tech blogs have while accounting for new social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, or something like that.
Brain finds the results “vaguely embarrassing” because any way he cuts it Edelman’s Steve Rubel is at or near the top of the list because “he is so prolific across all platforms.” Then Brain lets slip some of his true feelings. “Personally, I think he needs to do some client work some time,” he writes. Whoa. Now where have we heard that before?
The real shocker here is that Strumpette is #20 on one of his lists. That might sound impressive but coming in at #19 is B.L. Ochman and her slaphappy, idiotic What’s Next Blog. What are you nuts? Where’s the camera? Where’s Loren Feldman on this? Whadda you kiddin me? Get outta here. If Brain had half a brain the other half would die of loneliness. Where’d you get your brain, Brain, in a Cracker Jack box? I could write a White Paper on why that is so wrong.
Mark Rose is editor of PRBlogNews - a web publication focusing on public relations practices in the digital age.