Saturday, February 03, 2007

anti-social media

Last week I discovered that someone had bookmarked my post about the social media release on with a note about how I got it "pretty wrong" but that someone had "set (me) straight".

I was annoyed when I saw it, because I have yet to be convinced of the merit of the social media release, but also because the poster couldn't give me the respect of using my correct name

(It's not Alison Fields. It's Alison Byrne Fields.)

I also found it to be a little ironic that this person had not bothered to speak to me directly (by commenting on my blog) about our area of disagreement, as they are obviously a proponent of social media.

I should not have been dismissive about something that I did not know more about, because I understand how frustrating it can be to work on something and to put a great deal of thought into it and then have someone just crap on your idea. But I asked in that same post that people fill me in if I was missing something and I meant it.

Unfortunately, when someone did come by to fill me in — not this person — they chose to do so with condescension and even with what I saw as cowardice, cutting and pasting a post from their own blog to my comments, eliminating the ruder bits. I have already talked to this person because, well, I do that. I confront people when I am bothered by what they say.

I work for a public relations firm but I have little to no interest in media relations. I don't write press releases and I don't pitch the media.
I let someone else do that. Nevertheless, I recognize that a social media release is an improvement on a traditional press release because it provides the recipient with more dynamic content. I also recognize the opportunity to amplify the content by encouraging recipients to post it to, subscribe to RSS feeds, and so on.

But, as far as I can see, it's a press release.

When I engage with others via social media, I do so through personal outreach. I would just never think to send someone who was not a member of the mainstream media something that even slightly resembled a press release.

That's where I am. And so I respectfully disagree. I have not been "set straight". Instead, I have just been thoroughly disappointed in the way this experience has unfolded in an entirely anti-social way.

If you would like to have a real conversation about this and feel that there is more that I need to understand to see the light, please do share.

The point of this "experiment" is to encourage connections, conversation and learning. Let's allow it to meet its potential.

Note: I wrote an angry post last week in response to finding the bookmark, but I decided to yank it because it just wasn't productive.


Brian Solis said...

I absolutely agree with this post. There's still plenty of room for conversation on this front, and it's that conversation that is most important. Your summary of the opportunity for the SMR is on the money.

The next step is to not even mirror (or use) a press release at all. It should simply evolve into a transparent process for sparking coversations. But, I'm cringing when I think of just how many amateurs will try this and fail miserably.

I'm also shifting away from using the term social media and looking at the art and science of "social tools" when discussing PR. I think there is much to learn, but no one can properly learn without engaging and conversing directly...Just wanted to stop by and say great post.

abf said...

Thanks, Brian. Glad to have the chance to "meet" you and to learn more.