Posted by Brian Connolly
Pander: To cater to the lower tastes and desires of others in order to exploit their weaknesses.
One of the greatest weaknesses of the Web 2 "revolution" is just how much the online "community" subtly, passively, fosters pandering. It's awful. You want Rubel-Scoble-Penelope-Trunk-like numbers, do as they do: tell your audience what they want to hear. Tell 'em they're smart, influential, talented, whatever. Further, throw a little "link love" their way. God, it's just sickening. Worse yet, most offenders don't even realize they're doing it. It's the culture.
With that in mind, regrettably I'm gonna call a friend to task here. I really like Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications. That's why I am so incredibly disappointed by a recent video of his on MyRaganTV. "Banned from the Blogosphere" does absolutely nothing but pander to the junior-most levels of the PR business.
Anyway, Mark asked that I comment on MyRagan. But for what? For an audience that's comforted by pandering?! Forget it. The ear for challenge, if there is one, is right here.
Here's what I had to say to Mark directly.
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PR 2.0 vs. Traditional PR - Are You Ready to Rumble?
Much has been written in regard to the utility of the blog as a channel of communication for corporations. In a recent post on www.Ragan.com (an outstanding resource for professional communicators) entitled, "Banned from the Blogosphere - http://www.myragantv.com/video/?d=481" the issue of corporate blogging is discussed in detail. The main issue comes down to an ongoing debate between what I commonly refer to the "PR 2.0" folks and the traditional public relations practitioners.
In short, the PR 2.0 folks espouse the virtues of the "new media" channels such as blogs, photo and video sharing sites and a host of other electronic information sharing tools that continues to grow each day. Traditional PR practitioners espouse the need for more ethical application of the new tools and are not overly impressed by the newest thing since sliced bread promises made by the PR 2.0 folks. As with most things, there are legitimate points to be made by each camp and I could not possibly keep your attention long enough to discuss the merits of each side in this post. To learn more about opposing viewpoints visit http://strumpette.com/archives/616-Can-We-Ban-PR-Pandering-in-the-Blogosphere.html.
Having attempted to establish a corporate blog, I can tell you that the "Business Prevention Department (Legal)" is not in favor of the practice. From a PR professionals standpoint, I feel that opening up any channel between the organization and its customers has more benefits than drawbacks. I can see how legal may have issues with disgruntled employees bashing the corporation, but I believe most people who read blogs can discern the difference between a legitimate beef and a dispirited employee going postal on a blog.
And there is the rub. While social media opens up access to the mass audience to participate, it also... opens up access to the masses to participate in a dialog about your company. Opening up a two way channel with the masses via social media is not all bad, but it must be adroitly planned and continually monitored. Does the effort meet the communication program goals? Is your message reaching the right receivers? Can you manage the work associated with the effort over time? All legitimate questions that deserve well thought out answers before moving forward with any social media effort.
In regard to my own efforts, I continue to try and involve my organization in social media (e.g., Face Book, NewsGator... by posting photos, videos and by participating in real estate industry blogs.
I continue to be intrigued by this issue. I don't believe it is an us vs. them deal, merely a debate among competing view points. After all social media is nothing more than a new channel, it is not the fundamental practice of public relations.
Visit our new Florida Public Relations Professionals blog at http://cwcfprablog.typepad.com/weblog/.
From the Beach Chair,
Matt Gentile - FloridaMoves.com - 300 Days of Sunshine