Posted by Bruce Pilgrim
Talking to My Cats: 10-2-07
Baghdad Bob advises PR types to "Blog, you fool, blog! Slam the competition under a fake name, obfuscate, plant rumors and innuendos." He's also says you can get cool bribes such as new Nikon cameras and speaking fees, plus there's assorted junkets to cutting edge conferences, seminars, and other circle jerks.
Blogging is not only way cool, it's fun. There are no rules! You don't need no steenking credentials, journalistic training, writing skills, or ethics. You can even skip spellcheck, which as we all know not only takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R, it’s also a stone drag on one's spontaneity.
Set up an account with Blogger, and within minutes you can beat your chest , whine, complain, and kvetch. You could be the next Matt Drudge! You're a commentator, a force to be reckoned with, and one of these days PR people will want to have relations with you! (Calm down, boy, not those kinds of relations. They just want to kiss your butt in exchange for mentioning their products.)
Time out for a brief interlude:
I really, really, really hate the word blog. This nasty little portmanteau, so the story goes, is a fusion of two words: web and log. In this wonderful wild world of Web 2.0, no one seems to take the time to consider quite serviceable words that were already available: online and journal. (Which likely would have been merged into onjourn or journline.)
The reason for choosing log instead of journal, I am sure, arose from some geek's Star Trek fantasy. ("Captain's Log: Stardate 112996. What's the deal with the Romulans? They're, like, violating the neutral zone again, and they are so off my friends list...")
The only things worse than the word blog are its many mindbloggling offshoots: vlog (video blog), splog (spamming blog), dlog (a blog about dogs, I think.) I'm pretty sure we'll soon see more variations on this lousy theme, including blogs about celebrities (agogblogs), forestry (bloglogs), amphibians (froglogs), wetlands (boglogs), and pornography (flogs). I must confess a certain fondness for a gulog, which Wikipedia defines as "a blog so dismal and depressing, it's as if it was written in a Soviet labor camp."
Now back to our regularly scheduled blather:
Some PR types have also discovered that they can foster their own blogs, with often hilarious results. WalMart's travel blog last year lasted about fifteen minutes before it was unmasked as a pure PR play. Any number of cringe-inducing "character blogs" abound, wherein we can learn about Barbie's unrequited crush on Midge; Mayor McCheese's foot fetish, and how many asshole college kids are entering this year's Captain Morgan foot on an imaginary keg pose-off.
And then there's the undercover blogging strategy: Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey has admitted posting slams against competitor Wild Oats Markets in financial chat rooms under the pseudonym of rahodeb, predicting bankruptcy for its competitor, which is now a takeover target. Whole Foods spinmeisters put the whole thing in perspective in an AP story:
"Mr. Mackey made those postings from 1999 to 2006 under an alias to avoid having his comments associated with the company and to avoid others placing too much emphasis on his remarks," Whole Foods said.
Well, OK then. How considerate of him. And here we thought he was a sleaseball.
At least Mackey wrote his own stuff. Many CEO blogs are celebrations of blandorama corporate speak, sanded down by the legal department, and then given several coats of varnish by the Ministry of Truth. Full disclosure: I have been a staff member of the Ministry of Truth for several corporations and consider myself a gifted corporatespeak craftsman, but I've never – so far – ghost-blogged (ghlogged?) for the big guy. But, if I did, it might look something like this:
"At Ginormous Corp., we're all about people. People such as our customers, our suppliers, and our associates. We don't view them as merely "employees," or "headcount," or "overhead." We value them as vital to the success of our business. That's why it was so difficult to let thousands of them go recently when we had to address our profit objectives. In the long run, however, it was the best decision for our business, and as I'm sure you noticed, our stock price shot up three points after we made the layoff announcement..."
Lately the blogosphere (!) has been babbling about providing affordable health care benefits to needy bloggers. (I am not making this up.) Why is Congress wasting its breath on increasing spending on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), when they should be working on the Comprehensive Healthcare for Unemployable Geeks initiative, or CHUG.
These poor bastards are working in unbearable conditions in their parents' damp, dingy basements, often clad only in underwear and bathrobes. Deprived of natural light or human companionship, they stare bleary-eyed into their monitors for days on end, subsisting only on energy drinks and Slim Jims, posting updates hourly, commenting on other blogs, and constantly casting about for something to be outraged about.
Won't you please help?
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Maybe its good that Aedhmar Hines' blog is dead; one less blog. But then aren't we bloggers bemoaning bloggers who don't blog, and complaining that there are too many blogs on a blog about PR and blogging? If not a blog, what? Mr. Darcy, one of my cats, has no idea what I am talking about. He wants his own kittie blog - call it Macrocontusion. Does that help?
My cats have been blogging for years -- even though they can't type, can't spell, and have very little to say. All they do is complain about the billions of blogs out there that aren't worth their weight in kitty litter.