Thursday, December 31, 2009

Meh or Shmay, 2010 is Just Another Year

I don't blog much. It's partially because I have other priorities that come first: work, life, friends, gym. The blog is not an extension of my persona, but a place I can write about the industry.

I don't blog much as I've moved my thoughts onto Twitter, where I can push off one-liners that can still be thought provoking and start conversations.

I don't blog as much as I'm waiting on the move of my blog to jspepper.tv (which I'm thinking of just calling @jspepper) and will incorporate the oft-ignored Pitch Blog and twitter but will not be called the uninspirational, not new and not groundbreaking lifestreaming. Lifestreaming isn't new, and if you want a great example that's been around for years, go look at News @ Cisco.

And I don't blog as much because PR/SM blogging has become Barney - I love you, you love me. And that's just shit because PR and social media should be about calling out the bullshit, pointing out the inconsistencies, demanding case studies or examples that move beyond personal experience - I don't care what you can do for yourself on Twitter, oh social media expert. Show me what you've done for others - because personal means very little in the corporate world. Yes you might have your fanboys, but see how many stick around when you go corporate.

Through this concept of community, PR (and now SM) has become cheerleaders for one another. No one (well, no one that is respected) is pointing that these emperors have no clothes, and I'm tired of doing it. Tired and don't have the energy to take it on myself. I get the backchannel comments that "damn, you're right" - get out of the shadows and speak up, and help save PR and social media from becoming a punchline of a joke.

There's plenty I have to write, and most of it is pricking the balloon and upsetting the apple cart. Let's be honest here, and realize that:
  • PR 2.0 is a sham and nothing new. Well, actually it's a scam and by my count, we're on PR 8.0. But the thing is that those that subscribe to the PR 2.0 notion ignore, well, the real users are are too caught up in the social media bloggers and realm. Hey, guess what, most likely those aren't your users and your ignoring mainstream press and telling a good story.
  • The social media release is a joke. If you go look at most SMRs on sites such as PitchEngine, the problem is not press release versus SMR, it's just that the content sucks. Not all items are news, and putting it into an SMR isn't going to magically make it news. How about focus, and better writing? How about less market speak and more storytelling? You get what you pay for, and most of that is free. And let's not forget that wire noise IS a viable PR strategy.
  • There are tons of examples of unethical practices in public relations, but no one (including me) are pointing them out. Why not?
  • Social media is just one tool in the PR toolbox. Not sure how many times I can say that, but I will continue to say it. And while it is a nice buzzword, it is not going to change the world and not going to change corporations unless they really want to change and listen to customers and engage. You can give lip service, but it's just that. And, you know what junior staffers? It's best left NOT to you, but to senior PR people that understand those little things like strategy, tactics, and have a long view of the clients, the space and the industry. So thank you very little and now STFU and learn from those in the industry longer than one year.
Yes, these are all posts - and more - that I have started in 2009, and should finish for 2010. But, I'm trying to have a balance, and like that I do yoga and workout and am healthier than I ever was before. And that wasn't from a new year's resolution, that was just a decision I made one day.

That's the key. You don't need a special day to change yourself. You can do it any day. And, what that really means for me is to point out the issues and help make PR or social media better. If you want to be that expert - or have changed yourself to be that expert - and cannot take criticism, then maybe you aren't that change agent that you think you are. If you have a thin skin, and cannot take criticism, then get out. Seriously, get out because criticism is what makes you better, and the whining that a thick skin makes you hard is an excuse because you cannot take criticism and don't want to improve. That includes me - bring it on, if it's constructive. If it's ad hominem, I'll defend and reciprocate.

That's my 2010 message: you don't need a special day to decide to improve or be better or make something better. But have a great New Year's, and hope your 2010 is what you make it and want it to be.

BTW, if you want a different point-of-view, check out Doug Haslam's very nice post on 2010. Great post, great ideas and comments, even if I don't agree 100 percent. ;)