So said one of my friends when I got my first job in public relations. In truth, I agreed with her, despite my complete lack of knowledge of the industry and the people who worked in it.
Yesterday, we had a lunch and learn at Thornley Fallis about the increasing importance of social news to our profession. As we sat around the boardroom table, we talked about citizen journalism and how it’s forcing mainstream media to adapt and/or adopt. We discussed the merits of reading these sites and those like them to get a sense of who’s out there reporting the news for free. We talked about how one would go about “pitching” these amateur journalists (and by the way, the answer is to not pitch them at all). We also got into a discussion about social bookmarking, but ran out of time to go into any great detail.
Fifteen years ago, a conversation about how almost anyone can become a member of the media would not have been conceivable. Similarly, fifteen years ago there was a lot less material PR professionals had to keep up with on a daily basis. My point: there are a lot more ways for PR to get their message across these days, but there is also much more that PR professionals need to keep their eyes on. Constantly. [Read more…]
Many moons ago, I was traveling with an international youth group in Spain when a friend from Venezuela asked me to explain the reference “reach out”.
“Every day I hear people say, ‘we need to reach out to the people’ and I do not understand this word. What is this ‘reach out’?”
I started to explain to him in Spanish that “reach out” meant the spiritual groping – no, that’s not right – it’s kinda like your energy goes out of you – no, that’s not it, either. It’s like your need to make people feel good resembles an arm coming out of your heart and…well, that didn’t work either. My ability to communicate this abstract but common metaphor was useless.
We went to a fluent Spanish speaker and asked her to translate “reaching out”. Without even looking up, she said, “Darse.”
Perfect. Stunned, I realized that I’d used the phrase “reach out” all the time without really understanding what it meant. I had to get the word translated from English to Spanish and back again to really get the translation and the true meaning: to give of one’s self.
Preparing for the SOBCon07, the Successful and Outstanding Blogger Conference in Chicago, May 11-12, 2007, I was hunting for a better definition of blogging and relationship building when this memory bubbled to the surface. What better definition of blogging than “to give of one’s self”?
When we blog, we are giving part of ourselves to others. We are sharing our thoughts, insights, concerns, issues, feelings, and our stories with others. For some, blogging means sharing ourselves with the hope of making the world a better place. For others, blogging means sharing their interests in the hope of attracting other like-minded folks.
Let me tell you a couple of stories. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
There was once an athlete who was great at training. He could thrash his personal bests, decimate the opposition and make his peers believe he was a superman.
On the day, he was a mess. His diet was wrong, he had no idea what the opposition was planning to do or what they did in any particular situation. So he did what everyone else did. He hired a coach and started to perform infinitely better. Perfect planning prevented a piss poor performance. [Read more…]
Take a moment to consider what exactly spam is. According to Wikipedia, the authority on everything these days (including the life and death of Sinbad) describes spam as such:
Anyone who uses email understands spam. It’s something unsolicited and almost always unwanted. If you’re lucky, you don’t get a lot of it. It’s rarely useful/tasty due to the fact that it’s mass produced and, by and large, artificial. At times, this is exactly how one could describe an unsolicited press release sent from a PR practitioner to a journalist: information that is electronic, unsolicited, useless, mass produced and artificial. [Read more…]