Author Archives: RDF

What We’re Up To These Days…

Our current projects are Auburn Family and PRProspects.  Auburn Family is an almost daily posting site.  PRProspects features the final projects of Style & Design.  Come visit us there.



PROpenMic Reflections :: One Year Old, and Growing

Today marks our one year anniversary. I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’ll greatly appreciate your opinions and suggestions below.

So, what have we accomplished? Your thoughts? Here are some observations.

Out of 4,135 members (as of this writing), we have:

Yes, I know that adds up to 4,289. Well, that’s because we have some people selecting two options (practitioners that teach, for instance).

Numbers are ok, but I’m happier about the diversity of those numbers. We’re about 50/50 academic and practicing pros. Continue reading

SNCR NewComm Forum 2009

The 5th Annual New Communications Forum is slated for April 27th – 29th, 2009. Hosted at the Marriott Hotel at 4th & Mission in San Francisco, CA.


Now celebrating its fifth year, NewComm Forum is the premier conference that brings together thought leaders and decision makers to discuss the impact of social media and emerging communication tools, technologies, and models on PR and corporate communications, marketing and advertising, media and journalism, business, culture and society The Forum provides an in-depth exploration of the future of communications. In its five year history, it has come to be known as one of the world’s leading conferences focusing on the latest trends in new emerging media and communications platforms. Continue reading Traffic :: One Year Anniversary

Our PR social network has been in action for one year, as of April 1st.  I thought you might like to know how we’re doing.  I’d also appreciate your feedback on the network.  We can’t get better without hearing from your members (and those that haven’t joined, yet, too).

Here’s an update on PROpenMic‘s traffic over the first year. Only April ’08 through February ’09 (11 months) are available.

I’ve used publicly available information from and  They are services used by media buyers to determine rates for ad buys, for instance. Continue reading

Robert Scoble as J.J. Hunsecker? Wine Me & Dine Me

Robert Scoble doesn’t like PR or journalism.

Robert Scoble: A Citizen Journalist Contradiction

Wine Me & Dine Me (or, I’ll whine about bad PR)

Alice Marshall has a post about Robert Scoble’s recent audio blip heard round the block.

“Last Thursday’s edition of For Immediate Release contained a very troubling rant by Robert Scoble about the clueless PR pitches he has received. Scoble prefers to be pitched over dinner…” (Source) Listen for yourself. (The complete podcast is on

I think Alice is on to something here.

Update: George Snell notes, in comments on Alice’s blog, “Scoble should not be preaching to PR people about best practices considering that he just received thousands of dollars from Cisco to cover their news – giving Cisco full editorial control over his content. (Source) More info here.”

Robert, we PR people actually do have codes for best practice. I know you’ll be suprised to learn that most people actually pay attention to them. Remember now, Robert, your tech PR experiences aren’t necessarily representative of all PR practice.

Preserve the free flow of unprejudiced information when giving or receiving gifts by ensuring that gifts are nominal, legal, and infrequent.

Examples of Improper Conduct Under this Provision:

A member representing a ski manufacturer gives a pair of expensive racing skis to a sports magazine columnist, to influence the columnist to write favorable articles about the product.

A member entertains a government official beyond legal limits and/or in violation of government reporting requirements. (Source)

To recap, Robert Scoble wants PR to return to the wining & dining days that brought such an unsavory reputation to the practice, years ago. Well, not exactly. But, if you want Robert Scoble’s attention … oh yeah, baby!

Oh, Scoble tried to wiggle out in a comment, but Alice was having none of that. Hey, they were your words, Robert.

Is Robert Scoble becoming J.J. Hunsecker? May I paraphrase the the tagline, please…

They know him – and they shiver – the big names of technology, venture capital and (shudder) … blogs. They know Scobleizer – the world-famed columnist whose tech gossip is gospel to seventy-four thousand Twits, thirteen thousand FriendFeeders and who knows how many Facebookers! They know the venom that Flickrs in those eyes behind the glasses – and they fawn – like (insert a sheep’s name here), the kid who wanted “in” so much, he’d make a nice dinner to stand up there with Scobleizer, sucking in the sweet smell of success! This is Scobleizer’s story – but not the way he would have liked it told!

Strange thing is, Robert Scoble told the story himself. Hey, he made the audio recording and shared it.

Surely, every practitioner should know his/her audience. Scoble’s right about that. Build a relationship.

Christopher Locke, of Cluetrain Manifesto fame wrote a similar refrain (absent the “serve me dinner” option):

So instead of pitching the product, I started talking to journalists about stuff like that. I figured I’d just pretend to be working until I got fired for goofing off. But something amazing happened. As soon as I stopped strategizing how to “get ink” for the company that was paying my salary, as soon as I stopped seeing journalists as a source of free advertising for my employer, I started having genuine conversations with genuinely interesting people.

I’d call up editors and reporters without a thought in my head — no agenda, no objective — and we’d talk. We talked about manufacturing and how it evolved, about shop rats and managers, command and control. We talked about language and literature, about literacy. We talked about software too of course — what it could and couldn’t do. We talked about the foibles of the industry itself, laughed about empty buzzwords and pompous posturing, swapped war stories about trade shows and writing on deadline. We talked about our own work. But these conversations weren’t work. They were interesting and engaging. They were exciting. They were fun. I couldn’t wait to get back to work on Monday morning.

I imagine Scoble likes that point of view.

If you know that the only way to reach Robert Scoble is to invite him to dinner and court his friendship, then you have a chance to gain his attention. OK, but this dredges up some rather ugly images of media placement from years ago.

Let’s face it, Robert Scoble has expressed his disdain for PR many times. What’s so funny to me is that his area of interest, the technology scene – primarily in California, is such a small bubble in the broader world of PR practice. Don’t expect Scoble to acknowledge that, however. He’s perfectly happy to say “how PR is being practiced” rather than accepting that it is the smaller tech PR sector that is letting him down.

Yes, Scoble was an early adopter. Yes, he has had some great ideas and done some remarkable things. But, it is beginning to seem like he was really just getting a head start on building his fame. I can’t help but wonder if he’s becoming to technology what J.J. Hunsecker was to gossip. Wait, is what Scoble does simply tech product gossip? Oh, my god! Well, if he can get all chummy with you and get invited to your parties, maybe so.

Scoble has also expressed disdain for his own journalism degree. Not surprising, since those journalism classes likely emphasized not taking dinners for your attention (especially for coverage). Back in 2005, Scoble left a comment for one of my students, “I have a journalism degree. It isn’t worth that much, believe me. If you want to get paid there are a lot better things to do with your time in school.”

Robert Scoble, I think you’re on some rather shaky ground here.

I know I’ll be pounded by your loyal followers. I don’t mean it to sound bad, but this idea you have of schmoozing for your attention … well, it’s a bad practice. I hope you wake up before the credits roll.

All I would like to see is for Robert Scoble to, with regard to his PR rants, just once, stop staring at his own tree and look at the forest. Your walled garden has a gate, Robert. Walk out of it and see the entire PR world, please.

Miiko Mentz :: Her Unpunched Cluetrain Ticket

A recent post by PinkMoxie, Miiko Mentz (see and FutureWorks PR and, addressed a post by Jeremy Pepper in his Tumblr blog, Embargoed Release from Mindtouch.

Miiko “is the senior director of New Media & PR at FutureWorks, a social media strategy and PR firm. She also contributes, as a video producer, to Bubblicious, a blog that covers the Social Economy.”

One would think that a director of social media would be unafraid of a discussion, particularly one she started. Well, I posted on her blog in response to Miiko Mentz’s views about good practice and how to behave in social media.

My comment, I believe, was reasonable (even polite) while also being contrary to Miiko’s views. The comment has been deleted. Hmm? A post about how others should behave online denies contrary opinions?

So, I thought I’d share that comment here. I don’t know that I have the ‘exact’ wording of my comment, but I do tend to write things out before I share them.  Then, I’ll paste the text into the comment area on the blog I’m addressing. The following is a draft I saved before posting in Miiko’s blog.

By the way, I wrote to Miiko (yesterday) asking why the comment was deleted. She has since approved other comments on that post since I shared mine.  She has also not yet replied to my email (her choice, of course).   Others saw the comment before it was deleted.

Look, I don’t really care if my comment gets posted in her blog.   The real point here is simply Miiko’s choice to call someone out and now it seems Miiko is averse to, afraid of, contrary views.

My point, simply put:  if you have a blog and receive a comment that does not offend any stated comment policy, why would you delete it?  If you are the “senior director of New Media & PR,” is this path a good practice of social media?  I have tracked back to her post.  Let’s see how it goes.

Here’s the comment, you may decide for yourself.  Remember to read Miiko’s post and all the comments first, as that’s the only way to take this in the proper context.


Well, goodness. This has certainly spawned many tangents. I’ll avoid those distractions and address the initial issue.

What was the original reason/rationale for Jeremy’s post? Sure, he accepts all pitches … but, do you (your colleague) know enough about him (and his usual blog topics & tone) to understand why he accepts them? I’m guessing the answer is no. Sorry.

I’ve read his blog for a long time. I can’t imagine Jeremy Pepper writing about this pitch’s topic in a positive manner. Seriously. Never.

That’s what I’m betting first got his attention. But, to really get Jeremy to write, you have to give him more. Your colleague did not disappoint.

There were three pretty crucial errors that followed the primary 101 best practice failures and, I believe, they likely set off Jeremy’s ‘post’ trigger.

The pitch preceded the development of a relationship and understanding with Jeremy. Next. the pitch shared pretty much the whole story prior without gaining that embargo agreement. Finally, your colleague didn’t know and understand her target audience – Jeremy Pepper. It’s really pretty simple.

The worst, most egregious error, may well have been calling Jeremy a “guru” in the pitch. Yikes! Shudder! He doesn’t like that term.

Next, Jeremy uses the Web 2.0 phrase, but he uses it mostly as a term of derision.

Finally, Jeremy rarely (if ever) writes about apps. He’s about as big a fan of SMRs as you are of the the “good ole boys” network.

Again, if you and your colleague knew Jeremy, you’d realize that he is *not* a member of that club. He’s the chief thorn in their side. ;o)

A mentor, Jeremy is. I can attest to that, as can my students and many others. Now, his tone may have an effect upon people. But, again, you’d know that if you knew Jeremy and/or his blog.

Funny thing is, Jeremy was actually mentoring with his Tumblr post. Seriously. Be happy he posted in the Tumblr blog, not Pop PR Jots at blogspot.  (The reason?  It would have received a great deal more attention.)

I imagine you won’t see it this way, but Jeremy actually did you, your colleague, and your firm … a favor.

Rachel Maddow Slices & Dices :: Burson-Marsteller

Under the title, “AIG’s Image Problem,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow crafts a rant against AIG and Burson-Marsteller.

In her 3:44 minute rant, Maddow calls Burson-Marsteller the PR agency “from Hell.”

This is a slice & dice unlike any I’ve seen before. Yes, TV talking heads have ranted against PR and firms for eons.

I’m not here to defend or destroy either Burson-Marsteller or Maddow. I do think this particular rant is a good example of creating a selective argument.

Maddow, in her rant, notes that Burson-Marsteller was involved in representing corporations in some of the most high profile crisis events in recent history. From Bhopal to Three Mile Island … date rape drug on toys and faulty breast, and more, Maddow notes that B-M was one of the firms involved in post-event PR. She neglects to note that there were likely many PR agencies involved in those cases. She implies that B-M was the only firm.

Further, Maddow states, “When Evil needs public relations. Evil has Burson-Marsteller on speed dial.” She then points out that Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster and chief strategist, is the CEO of Burson-Marsteller.

Almost all of the B-M clients/cases Madow refers to are those that we teach as case studies to learn the pros and cons of both corporation practice and PR practice. To me, this was interesting to watch.

My questions? Was Maddow fair or has she begun to embrace, on occasion, the MSNBC/CNBC “Howard Beale” mentality of commentary? Your thoughts in comments, please.

Here’s the video and an update. Maddow replies to a leaked internal memo by Mark Penn offering a rebuttal to Maddow’s first commentary.

Part I Part II