January 21, 2007

OMG Stowe said the P Word

If "social media" PR types continue to focus on how to bring old tools into a new paradigm, they will continue to be beaten about the head and neck. Case in point is the social media press release, which has been discussed way too long for anyone outside of BigPR, which struggles to adapt to the changing means of "relating" among "people," formerly known as consumers.

The problem is the dual role of consumer (or user) and producer (or co-creator) that we find ourselves in, thanks to the Internet. Wait, it's not a problem at all. At least outside of BigPR--which has quickly become OldPR.

The traditional press release serves a purpose and always will. For public companies it is more an IR tool than anything else. Public companies are required to release information--and whether they do it through more human sounding language, through some PDF or HTML file with horizontal rules and links to podcasts, OR the usual way, they're not bothering anyone.

The call for a social media press release is a straw man. It is easier to fix formatting and links in an OldPR tool than it is to figure out how to bring an old-world discipline into new territory.

We are not an audience. You should not be broadcasting. Hello, it's time to take delivery.

On the social Internet, people are always looking for help getting done what they need or want to get done. THAT is the role of PR. THAT is how NewPR people are helping their clients. Finding ways to help people participating online do the things they want to do. Helping them discover new things to do. It's bottom up in the most radical way. The People are the new CEO. And the new CEO is a person.

It's all good. But you gotta stop caring about press releases and start caring about people.

[[UPDATE: NEW post by stowe on the topic, aggregating thoughts from others with new stuff. nice.]]

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