I've been AWOL since mid-January, thanks to a nice vacation that had me offline for almost two weeks, followed immediately by business travel to two industry events for a week, followed by an office move. I'm coming up on a month or so of nothing doing on this blog.
The vacation (as vacations always do, at least for me) gave me time to decompress and file away some thoughts in a way that help me make sense of the world around me and make some new plans for 07. If you read this blog often you know my nearly unassailable belief in the value of perspective, and that was again reinforced on this trip.
Thanks to all this, here's what I've been thinking, in no particular order:
This blog is stale and needs an update in myriad ways, including look and feel, content, organization and tools. Accordingly, I'm going to post only sporadically until I reorganize this in a way that will be better overall, and more useful to both me and readers.
I sounded out what I think is a good idea for a new set of published content with some people who know what they're talking about. It's a project I would like to do in 07, if I can make the time to do it right. It would be fun and fulfilling, and I need to see if I can plan to do it in a way that doesn't make me crazy.
I spent a little time thinking about PR, marcom and human relations and what it all means -- I'm even more convinced in the value of invested time and effort before any marketing effort begins to find the nucleus of an organization's reason for being and what value it thinks it can bring to bear in its marketplace (no matter what that marketplace is). You may see elements of this thinking in revisions of this blog.
So, I'm still reading you, even if I'm not posting much. But there will be more to come. Stay tuned.
We are "word police," always on the lookout for something that we don't like, something we can criticize.
That type of attitude is a major detriment to true communication, and a real reason why so many companies/organizations/people are afraid to truly dialog with others.
Most importantly, it takes a medium that has great potential to increase understanding and help people find common ground -- the internet -- and turns it into one big shouting match, with no one really learning anything other than how to pick apart another's point of view.
Exactly, John. It's like a Jerry Springer show.
John makes reference to this piece from Dorian Lynskey, the British music critic, who got a whoopin' for daring to criticize Bruce Springsteen. Oh the humanity. Lynskey writes:
The most belligerent voices on the blogs speak with either a weary, condescending sneer or a florid pomposity redolent of Ignatius J Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces. If, as they imply, their taste is flawless and their intellect mighty, then perhaps they could find a better use for these prodigious gifts than taking potshots on websites. Just a thought.
Why am I so exercised about this? Because it's such a giant waste of potential. What could be valuable and helpful ends up an exercise in defensiveness and anger.
And any of you who disagree with me obviously have not read what I wrote.
Kevin Murphy is bureau chief for Computerwire in San Francisco. (Disclosure: He's covered the industry I'm currently involved in.) He knows his crap and has a ferocious wit, as you'll see.
He writes a post today about "How to Blag an Interview" that will look not only familiar, but exactly familiar to, oh, about every single PR agency operative of the most recent generations. In my opinion, it should be required reading for the next several to follow -- it shows how staid, predictable and all-too-full-of-pretense briefings have become.
This is uncomfortable to me as well because I've conducted briefings like this one. Many times. But I hope my thinking has evolved now to the point I can find my way clear to do something more valuable for both sides involved.
What would be better? How about a conversation? One where there's genuine listening going on, where everyone in the room asks smart questions about what's interesting to the other? How about some brainstorming on what the journalist wants to cover, and where he can find some useful resources?
And here's a barn-burner: How about doing this before you ever launch a product?