Tuesday, July 12, 2005

UPDATED REDUX: Someone is very very angry

I usually wouldn't link to anybody who thinks it's constructive to call any general group of people "morons", even if he is talking about P.R. people. (Kidding, my PR cousins, kidding)

What I find fascinating about this post and the one to which he does link is the sort of duality that exists between the supposed ethos of the blog community that theoretically Russell and others want to uphold, and their responses when things don't exactly fit into their preferred framework.

Example #1: Blogging is all about freedom of expression; and the concept that information wants to be free...and yet these posts are full of 'don't do this' and 'don't do that'...instructions not just to the morons they are excoriating, but to other bloggers who theoretically they approve of, but obviously feel still need their guidance.

Example #2: Don't tell me that Russell and Anil and others aren't perfectly pleased that via their blogging they have established themselves as voices of expertise about a particular market segment. They are perfectly pleased to publish publicly to achieve this reputation, and are perfectly pleased to get mucho traffic and job inquiries and speaking opportunities etc. So, yes, not everything associated with being an industry expert is fun. I can appreciate that, but jeez, the whining. Suck it up guys. Delete your spam like the rest of us do every day without having to make such a big deal about it. Isn't there just a tiny element of: "Look, look, I'm so important I get spammed constantly" buried amongst these rants?

Example #3: I find it tremendously ironic to complain about the degradation of the "quality" of conversations within a post that is filled with so much venom and pejorative terminology. I'm not sure this screed adds any more quality than meaningless product pitches...or talks about the color of the sky...do.

I've met Russell once, maybe twice. He's the friend of a friend. He has always seemed like an affable, upbeat kind of guy. I mean look at the picture on his blog. Man, the anger seems all out of proportion.

Nobody owns the Internet really. Nobody owns the blogosphere really. People are going to start to use it in ways you will not approve of. Let go guys.

But, by all means, tell those PR people who send you crap to never email you again, block their emails/comments and report them as CAN-SPAM violators if they continue. You absolutely do have the right to try to control your own life!
UPDATED: there really is an interesting online conversation ensuing as a result of Russell's original post, so I guess we can thank him for that. Steve Rubel defends PR folks.

Russ says, "Hey, that's ironic...you're exactly the guy that got me so steamed!" (Yes, I'm paraphrasing.)

Commenting ensues on both posts, and on both sides of the debate.
UPDATED REDUX: Alice Marshall has some pretty harsh words on the subject. She writes one brilliant paragraph:

"News flash, reporters are looking for real information to inform and entertain readers. Moreover it is a job for them and most have shareholders to answer to. That is why they cannot afford to write rants about the horrible press release they receive."

But I'm not sure I agree with her entire premise:

"Every new product announcement is a concrete example of where companies think the market is going. Only by consistently scanning press releases can you get a feel for an industry. This is a very time consuming process; that is why you need professional journalists. Moreover only an expert can separate the wheat from the chaff."

Sorry, but as someone who worked in product management and had both executive staff and sales breathing down my neck, I know there are plenty of press releases that are not such noble things. And I also disagree it's the "only" way to get a feel for an industry. Still, you gotta love a woman who writes this:

"Yes, it would be nice to only receive the wheat and none of the chaff; but life is filled with little disappointments."

Go ahead read the whole post.

I often wonder about folks who take such exception to a bad action in one field, for example PR or even marketing, and proceed to tar ALL practioners with the same brush. EG One PR person was a moron so ALL PR people must be morons.

Would they be so quick to do this if it were THEIR discipline that produced the idiot who performed the bad action? Not likely, yet we know it's true -- just about every profession has ethical, solid, talented people in it, and its share of bad actors.

Of course, a post that said "Some PR people are morons" probably wouldn't get near as much attention :-)
Ah, good point Susan!

And I am often torn about whether they should identify the people they are trashing. Without any examples people can say anything, without substantiation. Using examples though is really making it personal, not to mention giving link love to someone whose actions you're busy abhorring.
To be clear, I don't agree with Russ bashing all PR people. I have a lot of respect for many of the PR people I deal with every day, and I work with people in the PR business who are among the best at their work as anyone I've ever met. I told Russ that he's being irresponsible, and I feel that he is, but I worked hard to attack bad *practices*, not individuals, and I'm sure you agree that can have value.

And to answer Susan's question, yes, I do reguarly chastize people for being lazy or irresponsible bloggers. Most recently, Russ's post about PR people.
Anil is right. To be completely fair he says this in his opening paragraph:

"First, these points aren't aimed at clueful PR people. I've seen smart PR people in action, and even had the good fortune to work alongside some of the best in the tech business. They don't need any tips from me."
I agree. I found Anil's post to be thoughtful, precise in both its criticism and advice, and in fact referenced it in a recent post on my own blog.

I am a marketing and PR person with a blog who has now been on both sides of this equation -- trying to figure out how to pitch in this new environment and the recipient of attachment laden PDFs from someone else pitching me.

We can all learn from each other here. Constructive critcism is valuable. We should welcome it. Rants and temper tantrums on the other hand just irritate and remind me of nothing so much as my 5-year old son stamping his feet because he wants attention.
Thanks for the link and your kind words.

But I stick to my premise, in order to understand an industry you have to scan the new product announcements. You have to do many other things as well, but you have to scan the new product announcements.
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