When I started this blog I swore it would not turn into an extension of my twitter usage, but after this post it might seem that way. Go on the popular social network and there is no shortage of PR professionals twitting away about briefing books, clients, philosophy, strategy and big client wins. Ring the news business bell!!! The PR folks on twitter call it a conversation revolution.
The journalists on twitter call them flacks. The journalist that PR people are following call them worse sometimes and criticize pitch calls, pitch emails, follow up calls, interviews with PR people involved and the list goes on. Journalists openly complain about PR people friend’ing them on Facebook, pitching on twitter and commenting on their personal blogs.
And the PRs response? They ask, “what can we do better.”
Not once have I seen a PR person strike back and Twitter, “For once I’d like a journalist to read our website before calling in with these questions.” Or “biggest pet peeve of journalists is when they don’t show up on time for interviews.” Or, “when they interview top-level executives and waste their time (AND MINE) and don’t use their words in a story.”
Where’s the backbone? For decades we’ve tried to get our seat at the table in the boardroom. We’ve smoked cigars, went to concerts, shared happy hours, hosted journalist round tables during staff meetings, some even got MBAs and now as an industry we fold because it’s all in the spirit of conversation!?!
Well. I know where my bread is buttered and I know it’s buttered in cold, dark black ink. And lots of it. So, I read and learn. Copout? Yes. Reality? For sure. Is this all new? No.
The fact is that social media is just another channel. And with that channel come tactics and strategies that need to be molded, crafted and best practiced. And, it’s not one size-fits all. Social media is not a free for all and it’s not a revolution, rather just another day in the office.
In the meantime, for those looking to join the conversation I would caution, some caution. And, I hope you have some thick skin, because now that we’re all being honest, the critique of the profession and its practitioners isn’t always going to be rosy.