Thursday, October 26, 2006

Unclear on the Concept; Lessons from Blog Business Summit

There is a dichotomy at the Blog Business Summit; it is not a bad dichotomy, but it is interesting. On the one hand, the message is about the community: the community is what matters, it is the community that we are reaching out to, to include them on various things (messages, events, news ... things that they might want to know).

On the other hand, it is about measurement. And, well, when you get into measurement, it becomes a Technorati A-list, inside baseball (blogging) circle that really only helps propogate the A-list mentality.

Now, yes, I know these people. Yes, I talk to these people. But, no, I do not exclusively outreach to these people when doing work for clients. Why? Because it is stupid. It is being unclear on the concept of the blogosphere. You know, reaching communities, no matter how big or small.

This is about applying old-school, old-media practices to a new medium that people "claim" is all-inclusive (everyone has an equal voice) but these lists prove they don't mean it ... and, well, this should be of concern for PR people. With the recent announcement of more Technorati 100 in various locales and languages ... it says "it ain't about the community or reaching the right audience, it's only about reaching the biggest dog."

Is that not what got PR and media in trouble in the first place, ignoring the masses but only concentrating on the large press? You get a bigger bang for your buck with the smaller local press, because you can reach a localized audience. You can get a bigger bang for your buck if you do outreach to a specific audience - Mommy bloggers, Photo bloggers, Candy bloggers ... depending on what you want to do outreach for or whom.

So, reading this today made me think of that. First, let us forget the lack of transparency - but I guess it's about being a team player - but the event itself seemed odd. Let's do something for a photo company, but let's invite top bloggers ... that may or may not be the right target. But, hey, it does not matter about the target (they are gonna be up here anyway for Blog Business Summit!) but it's about paying homage to the A-list.

Where do I get that impression - well, I read the post, the link from the link blog. Now, I know these people. I think of many of them as friends. And, yes, I do do outreach to these people ... when appropriate. Heck, I am a slacker and need to respond to Thomas Hawk, and get together with him for some stuff that we have talked about in the past.

But, how does this help PR and help companies understand social media (or new media or emerging media)? It does not - it shoves the square peg of emerging media into one of the usual round holes. It says that we just don't get that the blogosphere is about the enthusiasts and the right communities, but we will only work with big names and we will ignore the audience to be able to continue link love to promote ourselves (second to clients). Well, okay, that's harsh.

But, for a photo company, does it make more sense to invite the A-list bloggers, or some of the photo bloggers and enthusiasts that I know and love? Well, you make the call - I do not know who was there, but the post thus far makes it seem like it was the usual suspects (as I understand it, the NDA ends on Monday, and maybe we'll see something better ... right now, though ... .)

And, my disclaimer? Worked with Getty and Corbis at Ofoto. Nice PR teams, both of them.

Okay, back to the Blog Business Summit - there have been some great talks, and despite the dichotomy, people are learning more about measurement and more about communities, and while there's always going to be some inside blogball feel, there are people here that are asking questions. Taking a page from another panel I sat on, I lead a panel (disclosre: with two clients) where I opened up the floor almost immediately for the audience - to engage the community. If people walk away with anything, it should be that the blogosphere is about the community, and getting the community involved. And, I think people are getting that here. More can be found here and here - all good reads.

Photo from Joseph Thornley's Flickr stream.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Come Join Me at Social Media Club and Blog Business Summit

Okay, I don't play this game ... but here we go.

Some times you have to promote where you are going to be, where you are going to speak, and where you are just going to be hanging around.

So, on Monday ... come see me in a different Thomas Pink shirt and maybe Red pants. I can't promise that that is what I am going to wear, but there's a shot. The Social Media Club is hosting "From Social Media to Corporate Media" down in the Valley, and is offering my special readers a discount.

If you buy tomorrow by 8 PM PST, enter the "IGETIT" discount on the buy page, and get $50 off. It's not an expensive ticket, so it's going to be even cheaper! Come learn about social media, where the corporate communications is going, and, well, see me.

Then, if you can come up to Seattle, it's time for the Blog Business Summit. I will be leading a breakfast panel with Jeanette Gibson, New Media, Corporate Communications (she's in charge of News@Cisco and Blogs@Cisco and she's doing a bunch of cool stuff as well) from Cisco and John Starkweather, Group Product Manager, Mobile and Embedded from Microsoft on the future of new communications. We also have a discount for friends and family and associates of me (and, well, I guess Weber Shandwick - we're a sponsor) for $100 off. That discount is: WEBSHAN.

Come see me in red pants on one day, and a suit on another. I might not be as dapper as I am with John Markoff of the NYT at the Office 2.0 conference (photo credit to Chris Heuer - the brain behind Social Media and BrainJams), but still is going to be fun ....

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Quick Thoughts on Kryptonite ... I mean Walmart

Some PR news on the front page of TechMeme today.

In a quick conversation with Tom Biro, he had a good point: this is Edelman's Kryptonite. Just like many people did not know what was going on at Kryptonite Lock, we do not know what is going on internally at Edelman. Disclaimer, Kryptonite is a client of Weber Shandwick, but more importantly to me, I call Donna Tocci a friend.

I respect and like most of the Edelman bloggers, and give them the benefit of the doubt on this. I do not know what goes on internally at Edelman, I do not know the facts - not that this does not stop Steve from blogging on FedEx or Staples or Kryptonite - but the benefit of the doubt is what you give your friends (and we all know who I consider my friends).

One thought, though - it does not matter who works or does not work on an account. It's an agency, and saying "I had no personal role" is not acceptable. You fall on the grenade, and take one for the team. It is our job to push internally, and sometimes push back on the client. It is not like the blog was a big secret - someone should have known what was going on, and Jeremy Wagstaff at the WSJ says it best.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Where the fuck you been, Jeremy Pepper?

Last time I blogged, it was August 21. It is now close to my birthday - October 21 - and someone IM'ed me with "where the fuck you been?"

Well, I have been around. I have had family events, I had some things to do, I have some things to figure out - but not going to share those personal details of my life. But, well, when you are in a space, you keep quiet. And, I decided to keep quiet - and, well, at one point for a week, I stopped reading blogs. Everyone should do that - take a break and live life.

But, I do have a lot of topics in the hopper. Some might be old - geez Jeremy, nice and dated - but things still need to be said. Some topics don't value being commented on - spinach needed a blog as much as I need a luch in kup. And, well, wouldn't the best blogger for spinach be Popeye, and oh no, that means character blogging and we all know how verbotten that is. (Pretty good - Yiddish AND German in one paragraph).

So, look for more blogging again - but think pieces. I think there is enough crap out here from so-called experts touting MySpace for business and trotting out Technorati lists, while obviously not getting that social media is about ... community. There's enough crap out there - PR needs think pieces with weight, not fluff - and to find smart ways to work with the community, not force itself on the community or celebrate fake celebrity.

Oh, and it's a big birthday - the 35th - so I am fishing for gifts.

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