I'm okay. Sure, the title seems a bit more dramatic than my mundane Monday morning blues might typically produce. Forget the nor'easter; the perfect storm is here. I'm a little hung over; I feel a little bloated; gravity is a lot less subtle today; and I'm still reeling from the aftereffects of bathing-suit shopping with Vikki yesterday. Arrrgh... good grief.
Anyway, with that as backdrop, I am waste deep in meme muck slogging through thoughts of abject futility. Seriously, what's the point?! What am I doing this for? Indeed, as of this moment, I'm contemplating quitting Strumpette. Along with all the other bloggers who've recently hung it up, ironically, I might be ready to concede and merrily say "Me2" and similarly breathe that muddy water.
HERE'S MY RATIONALE
-- Today, celebrity reigns. It's popularity over content, volume over value. Take marketing's Power 150 for instance. Rubel ranks high. However, 90 percent or more of what Rubel talks about is tech. Ninety percent or more of his audience is tech. His blog has very little to do with our business. But since he's at Edelman, we hold up his numbers as an example of success in PR. We defer to the distortion. Excuse me but we're in the business of creating false idols. We then fall in love with our own creations and turn around and adore them. All hail Paris Hilton and the drunken parade that stumbles behind her. Deep breath... long exasperated sigh.
-- Then, of course, in all its glorious buddy-buddy conversational frivolity, the Scoble-Rubel Club plays to our weakest nature. It's life as a crap shoot. Forget about actually having to make something valuable. You're next blog post can make you a star. Too hard? Easier yet, and even more addictive... Twitter! It's the equivalent to playing intellectual slots. Put in a ruble and pull down the arm.
There was a time not long ago when PR was a "discipline" based on the writing craft. No more. The "conversation" can now be attained in 140 characters of ungrammatical miasma that rises to non sequitur. Look how many times "Me2's Prez" Rick Murray uses the inarticulate placeholder "cool." Rick, excuse me but "cool" ain't "cool."
With the promise of self esteem, group acceptance and easy money, these pied pipers are leading the PR industry in a fanciful frolic toward unreserved irrelevance.
-- On that note... they've created the Cult of the Amateur! It's become a cacophony of suck! Where once there was a low barrier of entry... now these elevated nincompoops celebrate no barrier of entry. The disintermediators have disintemediated themselves in the name of get-rich-quick schemes and dreams of high-school fame. Sadly, they are not savvy enough to discern that they've fucked themselves. With everyone equally capable of common sense, when there's no longer authority of any merit, when there's no market for messages (Doc Searls)... what the hell do I need you for?
-- And all the insanity is well funded. Richard Edelman’s ego is too big and pockets are apparently deep. A million bucks! Listen, Weinberger is his buddy and no matter how anti-business his theories are, Richard stuck his neck out and now he's going to stick with it. Bottom line: This is at the root of what's malignant about PR. We are the air in the bubble. Sadly, the Me2LossLeader chums the waters where his competitors fish. Bottom line: integrity aside, they don't have any incentive to pop the bubble.
-- Our great hope is little help. We celebrate youth for their independence. But ours seems, by and large, to just want to assimilate (to get a job at Edelman). Conversely, those that are independent enough are threatened. (As we noted here a few weeks ago, how ever so subtly the esteemed Shel Israel threatened the young Adam Zand for speaking out.)
-- Lastly, there's no oversight. FTC is acting slow with VNRs and will similarly act slow with word of mouth and social media. PRSA is NOPO, i.e. the National Organization of Professional Obfuscators. And Corporate America is too scared to tell demagogues like Jarvis to go scratch.
In summary: we're off course, led by well-funded ego maniacs, wooed and in love with our own reflections, populated by lemmings, with no hope from the inside and no white knights on the horizon. It's hopeless.
Suicide? What more do you need. But no. Don't worry. I'm chicken. Plus, the subtle pleasure in taunting the privileged elite does get me up in the morning. Moreover... who takes this shit seriously?!
But truth is I'm really tired. Beating this horse only hints at suede. Vanity to think I could have made a difference. The train wreck will surely happen but it is a natural phenomena. Maybe I'll just stop and sit and wait for the big "I told you so." Now that's something to live for.
Definitively Documents Innovation and Social Value
As you are aware, the previous article here was a Q+A with author Andrew Keen on his soon to be released book "Cult of the Amateur." As the book is a detailed overview of how the Cluetrain Manifesto has been a total train wreck, predictably our interview was variously dismissed by the "true believers". Here, in the interest in fairness, we are running the opposing view on their behalf.
Prejudices aside, the debate comes down to the bottom line. With any invention, society weighs the positives against the negatives. Here specifically: What value are we getting from this social media experiment?
All of Keen's researched and documented negatives aside, what exactly is this 20 percent that "could pay off immensely?"
Well, we sat down for a one-on-one interview with Kyle Machulis, developer at Second Life’s Linden Lab. Machulis nails the significance of the new social media platform of choice, Twitter, and how similar innovation is radically changing communications.
Without further ado...
Can it be any clearer why Rubel and his type are so enamored?
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