April Fool's Joke Gone Awry?

Okay, so been sitting here thinking about Strumpette (no need to link), and the call I got from Brian Connolly ... and just mulling it over to think over the whole thing.

On one hand, the first post was amusing. It said stuff that most of us were thinking anyway, but someone put out there. In the end, did it matter? Of course not. It's a blog.

Thinking it through, I began to wonder if this was just a bad April Fool's Joke gone badly awry. Launched a week early - it smelled immediately, just from the first email - to string along PR people, then expose us for something or other.

But, then it blew up. It blew up badly, and I doubt Connolly (if it is him) understood the nature of blogs or the blogosphere. And, well, it also showed that the person(s) involved do not fully understand the scrutiny nature of the blogosphere.

He did call me up after I posted a comment on Krempasky. One little lesson - unless the blogger is a friend, start most conversations with "this is NFB (not for blogging)" or "this is off the record" - that will save you from a post like this. And, nicely, I always watch what I say unless I don't care. And, don't call me at my office - email me. That's why I have those links on my blog.

Connolly didn't like that I called his response knee-jerk. I explained that the sane thing to do is walk away, rethink the response, and then hit post when you deem it fine. Amazingly so, I do that with most of my posts on my blog, and comments on other blogs. Wrap your mind around that - my original comments and posts are more acidic.

So, he starts talking, and I'm half listening because ... well I am at work trying to work. But one thing gets me to notice his babbling ... "you are Strumpette. Tom Biro is Strumpette. Or, well, you guys could be."

Um, no I am not. Neither is Biro.

And that was so fucking offensive, it still sickens me. I have nothing to do with that shit (nor does Biro), but here is Connolly - if it is him - trying to deflect attention and make it a group effort.

It gets worse (of course). By him dropping a friend's name, Tom Biro, I immediately IM Biro. In the wonderful world of IM, I contact Tom to ask what this shit is about. With me, Connolly went for the "it would be fun, it would be a group effort" type pitch. With Biro, he went with the "we can make money, I already got an offer to buy it" pitch. Um, he's the Hungarian, I'm the Jew - switch those pitches, and it makes more sense.

Connolly goes on some more - I don't listen, again because I am trying to work - but gives me his contact info (redacted contact info) in case I am interested. I'm not, trust me.

Beyond the offensive nature of trying to tie me to that blog - and, well, the people out there know that if I write something, it's not going to be done anonymously - it is just an offensive, sexist blog (particularly if the guess work is right, and it's written by an old white man?). In the end, that does matter. It matters a lot.

It matters because the generation of next PR people are mainly women - we are a female-heavy industry, and always have been. It matters because last night I am sitting at PRSSA National Assembly dinner, listening to the next generation of PR practitioners (and some new entrants into the work force) talk about PR and online communications, people like Sarah Yeaney and Barbara Tate. It matters because I work with and respect the Auburn students like Erin Caldwell and Emily Melton, the SMU students like Casey Westlake and care about my own interns, Ashely Finch and Gine Weakley. They are what matter, not some crap blog.

Who'd have thunk it that I am a feminist - hey, philosophical issues in feminism and got an A, and helped launch the breast cancer stamp - but this crap tires me. Yes, I have that smirk sometimes, but it is not easy to be in a profession that judges looks just as highly (if not moreso) than talent. At the end of the day, if Strumpette is a female, that's sad. If it's a male, I feel bad for his female employees because it is obvious he has no respect for them (nor his Mother or sisters or daughters).

Let's end talk of that blog. It's tired, it's tripe ... it smells.



  1. Brian's called me a couple times but I haven't talked with him to this point. Sounds like he's called every PR blogger in town pleading Strumpette's case.

  2. Scott, you're leaving money on the table!

  3. It's amazing that the posts seem to continue...even when everyone is calling it out. If Strumpette wasn't Connolly, what is the author of that blog supposed to do in that situation? If it were me I'd address the issue up front, but since it hasn't happened - it leads me to confirm the assumption that it is someone else...a fake...a character...what have you. It’s been less than one week, but I second your comment Jeremy - Let's end talk of that blog.

  4. Thank you so much! As a female in this industry, I applaud you...especially being young and with only five years as a public relations professional. Your actions are just as authentic as your voice.

    This issue is bigger than Strumpette.

  5. Even though the blog is back up, I pray no one will comment in it and no one will write about it/link to it.

    Now, the companies and individuals that are associated with it have some serious reputation management to engage in, or they will not recover. I actually don't think they can, but if they want any serious consideration, they'll have to try.

    If it continues, the only takeaway - to me - is that those involved are unstable, unsound and truly foolish.

  6. Yeah, in passing, I raised the same April Fool's question in a post about the Strumpette site going down (to steal Scott's pun). As you said, Jeremy, if it is, the joke's on BC.

    Like Scott said, BC has called everyone (even me).

    And, then the e-mail I'm sure many of us received about the latest posts (still relating PR pros to prostitutes) and trying to stir the pot again.

    And on and on and on it goes.

    I may visit there every once in awhile, but for the most part, if we ignore Amanda Connolly and Brian Chapel, it will fade away and his 2nd 15 minutes of fame (following the Mambo-jumbo lawsuit) will be over.

  7. Not surprisingly, Brian hasn't deigned to call me in the ol' 323. I'm good enough to be put on the original "Strumpette" spam list, though. Even if he isn't Strumpette but is merely a reseller, as he claims, it seems to me that you really shouldn't oughta be hosting spammers.

    (Rolls up newspaper.) "BAD WEB HOST! *THWAP!* NO BISCUIT!"

    Oh, and there's the part about my whole Edelman-affiliation-thing that might have something to do with the fact that I haven't heard from him. Clearly an axe to grind there.

    Not that I have a particular desire to talk to him. Would seem no one else did either.

    Hell... And since my penguinista buddy back home can do a way slick Mambo install for me for the cost of a trip to Buffalo Bill's Brewpub, I really have little use for WePublishing.

    In other words, any such call would be *highly* unproductive.

    What was marketed as a gritty look at the soft underbelly of the PR business is now evidently reduced to cribbing stories from Reuters and making gossamer-thin connections to the originally promoted topic of the blog.

    As they say... Flames that burn brightest, burn shortest.

    The funny thing is, Brian evidently talked to a bunch of folks who correspond with each other (and me) all the time. Since he objected so much Krempasky's posts, I can only imagine he'd birth a monkey if he heard what people are saying *offline*.


  8. In my last (and I assume final) email exchange with A-MAN-duh this afternoon, he informed me of his new strategy: he's targeting the blog to people outside the PR industry, because they "get it."

    Why anyone outside the PR industry would want to read about Edelman's inside baseball, I have no idea.

  9. Excellent post, Jeremy. I too am surprised that this joke has continued.

  10. The purpose of the Strumpette was/is to poke fun at just this. You are a small band of young kids with very little business sense and an unbelievably inflated sense of importance. Coincidentally, that’s typical in PR. Typical also that while you huddle in your little make-believe world, the real world laughs at you. You’re a joke. Ciao for now, - Amanda

  11. Thank you all for the comments - the combination here showed the true professionals who can communicate ... and 50 year olds that act like 5 year olds that devolve into childish name calling and antics.

    Let's treat the 5 year olds as they should be - ignore them.

  12. Amanda, I just deleted the comment - not because of my emails, but because it included others.

    The stuff in my emails is stuff I have said to others anyways - so no issue there. The fact that you are including others is the issue.

    And, notice you never did answer if we did know each other from Kodak days ... but the great thing on that account is everyone claimed to work on it ... and most didn't.

  13. Even I'll say that what I found fun and with MUCH potential at first has -- predictably I guess, since it would take REALLY GOOD writing to do it right -- gone down a disappointing, path.

    sorry amanda. good idea, potentially industry shaking, but poor execution that has minimized what Strumpette could be/could have been.

    Maybe you're right, Jeremy, maybe it is an April Fool's thing?

    P.S., don't miss Josh Hallett's blog. He has a surprise for you. Or maybe NOT a surprise. ;-)

  14. So much for honesty and transparency Jeremy. As I said on Strumpette, the business is hypocritical. You are being true to form.

    As to name calling, you’re cursing at a mirror… and the mirror doesn’t care.

    - Amanda

    Jeneane, I appreciate your counsel. Hey, the best ballplayers maybe hit 30 percent.

    But just so you know, I don't write for an audience. I certainly don’t do it to foster relationships. I write because I enjoy it. Frankly, I am having great fun and will continue. You will likely find other things to enjoy. I will likely find others who enjoy my take on the business. C'est la vie.

  15. Wow, Pepper... Amanda/Brian just used the Pee Wee Herman "I'm rubber and you're glue" defense!

    You going to counter with "cooties quits," or "no givins?"

  16. Actually, Phil, I prefer the "if you love it so much, why don't you marry it" retort.

    Such a classic show. :)

  17. "Such a classic show. :)"

    As I said at the outset, "Watch as I work the pole."

    Cheer or jeer all you want; makes no never mind. I still get paid. Good shows or bad, the tips are pretty much the same.


    - Amanda

  18. I'm just about at the point where finding out that BC and AC ending up as two different people in reality will make me eat a stack of napkins or something. And that doesn't mean that someone else is asking him to post for her or whatever, that someone else is actually even doing the posting. From his Internet connection, of course, since those and all the emails and everything have the same IP.

    Statements like "You are a small band of young kids with very little business sense and an unbelievably inflated sense of importance. Coincidentally, that’s typical in PR." amuse me to no end, and will slay me even more once we get to the bottom of who this is all about. The way that this whole Strumpette thing has been marketed to those of us who were asked to participate is so Web .01. "Yeah, it's huge already, people want to advertise on it, we can make a lot of money on it."

    Believe me, I do just fine doing what I am doing at my day job and the other blog gigs I have. If I really wanted to make a bazillion dollars I would have continued following the finance track I was on for a while and gone into that business, making a bonus that far exceeded my regular salary. But hey, it's good that we can try and market a Web product withing 72 hours of its creation and all. I mean, c'mon, who isn't in it for the cash. Oh, wait, me, and probably most of the other "kids" here posting. Not that we won't take the cash if it's there, but it isn't the only motivator. There's this whole thing about actually liking what you do for a living. Maybe you've heard of it?

  19. Before I fully knew of the "Brian Connolly" connection, I exchanged a couple of very informal and non-offensive e-mails with "Amanda" today. All regarding copyright or "fair use" issues over a drawing used on the Strumpster's blog that originated in The Economist.

    Well, by tonight, he/she/it has read my own post on my blog, "Inside Market Research", is so infuriated by it that he/she/it has promised to call the general counsel at my employer's parent company. That should be fun, since, the last time I checked, my blogging activity was endorsed by my employer.

    Funny how "dialogue" can turn so quickly into "harrassment" in some people's mind(s).

    I've certainly learned that some things (and people) are better left alone.


  20. Well, Greg - hopefully others will see that and avoid and ignore Amanda/Brian, and then the blog will cease to be important.

  21. My favorite part of this whole thing was when I already removed it from my RSS reader.

    In any case, I love when people decide that they don't like what you're doing on your blog, and threaten to go to your employer about it. That's like saying people should go to employers over whatever people do offline in their own lives, and only makes for annoying threats.

    In this case, however, it might be amusing to see what s/he/it showed up complaining to his employer, don't you think?

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