Sometimes a book comes along at just the right time. I'd say that describes Naked Conversations, a good read and a great snapshot of the current blogosphere. It's co-written by Microsoft techno-evangelist and blogging legend Robert Scoble and former PR consultant turned blogging expert Shel Israel. A bit breathless at times in its rush to proclaim the victory of the blog, it makes up for it with some solid case studies, interviews and statistics. A good example is page #108, "Parallel Evolutions," where they interview PR veteran Shel Holtz, who has curtailed his traditional PR practices to move online. He warns about overrating blogs by themselves as Gutenberg-like inventions, instead looking at them as an extension of a bigger revolution. Example: he sees a blog as an extension of his long-running subscription based newsletter.
And he doesn't believe PR ever really had control of the messages. He sees the change on the other end of the equation. "the audience has been amplified exponentially. Blogs affect organizational communication in terms of transparency, tone, channel, and influence. There's not an element of PR that won't be affected.."
I agree wholeheartedly--blogs, and the bigger online revolution, will disrupt the PR industry in a big way.
(BTW, he also doesn't see the press release going away anytime soon, saying it still has a purpose as a statement of record for SEC and other legal purposes. )
The authors put their own spin on it at the end, however, comparing a long running fictitional engineer authored blog at General Motors, writing about a new car they were designing, to a one-time PR splash--full colored brochures, "exciting photos and zippy language."
Which one would get the journalists' attention?
Did they really have to ask?