Posted by Mark Abrams
Paul Gillin Is Smarter Than You, Says He
IT'S SETTLED! After years of knuckleheads jockeying for position, Paul Gillin, tech industry writer/commenter turned PR guy and blogger, has emerged the smartest man in PR. And he'll tell ya that, too!
Paul's background speaks for itself: He joined Computerworld as a staff writer in 1982 and covered software for a couple years. Then in '85, he jumped ship and went with PC Week for a little while. In '86 he moved over to the Ziff startup Digital Review only to return to Computerworld in '87. Stayed there until the bubble was about to break in '99. Then went to a startup called SearchHiTech.com. Renamed TechTarget, he ended up staying there 'til late in '05. During that time, Paul helped the company launch new sites, build its conference business and expand into print publishing and events. Paul says he "made the leap to new media just as the Internet was about to explode." More recently, he says he's "taken up blogging and podcasting in an effort to continue to learn about the cutting edge of technology innovation."
Pretty damn impressive by PR 2.0 standards. But if that's not enough, Paul is currently making the rounds trying to promote his new book "The New Influencers." It is another introduction to new media that again explains a variety of social media applications. Paul's book is different though because it includes his opinion as to their impact (note: a glossary is also provided).
So... how did he emerge as PR's Smartest Man? Well, as we said in the headline, he told us. In a recent byline puff-piece for Lapdog, the PR industry's leading sycophant trade, Paul addressed the "Five 'Stupid' Reasons to Avoid Social Media." And how does he know? Well, obviously because he's smarter. In Paul's words: "In my presentations to PR groups and companies around the country, I hear the same objections come up repeatedly. Here are the five dumbest reasons I hear for continued inaction."
See... of ALL the people Paul has met in PR, he's smart; they're dumb. And he's VERY clear in his article as to why:
Dumb PR Audience Reason 1. "We don't have the time/people/money."
Paul: "Ah, but you do have the resources to invest in activities that are showing declining returns and decreasing overall effectiveness. Sure, most agencies and corporate PR departments don't have the wherewithal to mount full-press social media campaigns, but the cost of listening to the conversation is trivial."
Dumb PR Audience Reason 2. "The ROI is unclear."
Paul: "ROI is becoming clearer. A survey of 260 senior marketing PR and marcom professionals by the Society for New Communications Research found that two-thirds plan to increase spending on social media during the next 12 months. Someone is figuring this out."
Dumb PR Audience Reason 3. "It's not our job: the task is to up to marketing/product management/customer support."
Paul: "Do you really want them to have all the fun? If you agree with the many thought leaders who say that conversations are the future of marketing, then why would you not want to lead that charge? PR has traditionally toiled on the sidelines, working the channels that influence markets. You now have a chance to step out front and engage with customers directly. What's the possible downside of that?"
Dumb PR Audience Reason 4. "We're afraid of negativity."
Paul: "If your products suck and your customers hate you, you probably have good reason. However, most successful businesses have good products and fairly happy customers, so it's unlikely they'll have much of a problem. And even if there is negativity building, wouldn't you rather find out now than wait until it turns up in The Wall Street Journal?"
Dumb PR Audience Reason 5. "It's the Wild West out there: we don't know whom to trust."
Paul: "Customers certainly know whom to trust, and it isn't marketers or the media. Increasingly, they trust each other. The 2006 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 68% of people said they trust peers for product recommendations, and that's triple the percentage of three years earlier. True, nearly everyone has an agenda, but no one generates much influence by lying. Believe me, it's safe to get involved."
Let alone that this is from a bubble jockey who made hay during the last tech disaster; Let alone that Paul's position is unadulterated opinion in the guise of fact and expertise; Let alone that his mere contradiction is technically... ALL WRONG!; let alone it's from a byline in Lapdog, i.e. pabulum in a sycophant trade, whose only purpose is to generate sales for an inane book. Forget all that. Bottom line: It's elitist crap and doesn't fucking practice what it preaches. His words, "listening to the conversation is trivial." Paul, "respect" is THE essential element of listening. Without it, you get evangelists like we had during the last bubble who were emphatic that they were the smartest people in the room and that everyone else needed to "either get in front of the oncoming train or wait for it to flatten them" (Paul's words).
Paul, are you listening?! To yourself?! For Christ sake. As we asked last week, Can We Ban PR Pandering in the Blogosphere? Please?
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[CROSS-POST: Addressed to Paul Gillin and first appearing on his blog.]
FACT is, there is no business case for your 5 assertions.
Points #1 and 2: Fact is proper participation in social media is expensive and there is NO evidence of ROI. NONE. If there were, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
As to Point #3, it’s dramatically WRONG. It is NOT the job of PR to go direct to an audience. PR by definition is 3rd party endorsement as vetted through mainstream media. You and others are proposing to change PR’s DNA (see http://tinyurl.com/22hfpl) without any idea of the ramifications of the change. Irresponsible. Again, the fact that your ridiculous assertions are motivated by short-term gain is reprehensible.
Point #4 is totally naïve. Do you have a background in organizational dynamics? Do you understand cultural anthropology? Forget the silly “Everything is Beautiful” assertion of wisdom of the crowds; mobs love schedenfraude. As we’ve reiterated on Strumpette a thousand times, crowds love the sound of breaking glass. They love loutin’. They love hanging’. Moreover, they prefer false rumor over fact.
And lastly, your point #5: the plug for Edelman’s fake “Trust Barometer” research is crap. C’mon Paul! And you call yourself a journalist? Do you even know what “trust” is?
Lastly, “buy the book to see the real business case” is just more crap.