Greetings again, from the hemisphere where the water spins down the drain in the other direction.
I'm not doing now what I was doing two days ago (see picture below), to my chagrin. I'm in Wellington for the ICANN meetings, where the word process can define new forms of freelance art.
Sure, I'll join the noise: Amanda Chapel is in town. If you believe her bio, she's got a killer, uh, portfolio and foreshadows that she's going to give an honest assessment of PR (maybe she already has). She obviously is after and unafraid of attention; now that she has it, let's see what she has to say. (And I apparently did not make the blogroll cut, though magically by e-mail she found me and invited me to place my bet.)
I keep beating this proverbial dead horse, but for the love of all that is holy, there's nothing, not a damn thing, as valuable to one's mind like new perspective. I keep learning this and maybe one day I'll get it right. International travel is uniquely capable of informing you of the depth of the rut your mind is in. If you're in the PR business, I wonder if you could successfully convince clients to devote parts of their budgets just to getting out of the US and watching how businesses in other cultures connect to their publics? I'm certain -- and would go so far as to guaranteee to a client -- that you could uncover at least half a dozen new ideas in two days of open-minded looking.
If you're on the east coast, take a five-hour flight to Europe and soak it up. If you don't have the budget, think of another way -- there are thousands. Buy a set of magazines from an unrelated business and read through them. Go to the library, check out documentaries, watch them with your creative mind open. Just alter your point of view somehow.
Pitching and gatekeepers
I strolled through this post, which is from last year, but got me thinking about it all over again. The gut of the question is whether or not bloggers should be pitched, engaged or otherwise approached by flacks to help spread the word. Some are good with it, others think anyone who can even spell PR is a scumbag.
I don't see blogs as the fulcrum here. Blogs are just the latest iteration of a communications method -- we're all so enamored with it because of what it enables. That's justified -- it enables things that previously were impossible (efficient two-way information exchanges) that have spurred exciting new things. Woo hoo. You could have said the same thing when KDKA went on the air, or when the fax machine was invented (or name your new technology that spreads data).
Is it evil to pitch a blogger? No. It's evil to pitch the wrong people for the wrong reasons, no matter where or how they write or talk. Some people just don't like to be pitched, no matter what. Others don't mind. Never mind blogs, phones, mail, newsletters, faxes, FedEx packages, carrier pigeon, cuneiform, billboards, stadium naming, advertising in the bottom of a golf hole cup, skywriting, art, product placement in a film -- never mind all that. The fulcrum issue is whether or not you have something relevant to say and have identified the method by which your publics like to receive and exchange information from and with you. If you pitch the wrong person, with the wrong information, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time, you're not practicing real PR. You're just throwing something out in the wind.
Jarvis posts about gatekeepers and their demise -- gatekeepers, that is, in terms of the people who have and give out information (including PR practitioners). I respect Jeff and think he's right most of the time -- I'll put the corollary out and say that I don't think the Internet will forever obviate gatekeepers. There will always be people who know things and people who don't, and they'll use whatever is most advantageous to flow information out from there. Corollary to even that is the fact that there always will be intermediaries that help sort and categorize information and services that help us make sense of what we're seeing.
More from the land of Kiwi soon.