This is the meme that won’t die. I was going to stay away from it, until I received a comment from Stowe Boyd yesterday. His comment was so long that my response (I feel) deserves a post, rather than a simple reply. The funny thing is, today I received an email from a former student (Sarah) who opened her eNewsletter from Lawrence Ragan Communications today and saw my name at the top of Shel Hotz’ post about the post in question. Kinda cool. Oh, and “Hey, Sarah!”
f you aren’t confused, re: Farmers in Appalachian Valleys, then I’ll appreciate your help – ’cause I am confused. You see, I have never written about Appalachain Valley farmers and press releases (have I?), but apparently Stowe Boyd thinks I did.
Stowe Boyd: I think the metaphor is pretty, but misleading. You could make the case that anything that any group advocates is like Soma. I don’t buy it. Blogging is not like taking an anti-depressant. It is (at a physical level) a collection of tools for web publilshing, and (at the societal level) a social medium through which we gain understanding of the world. Not a drug.
Actually, my intention re: the use of the metaphor is as follows.
The assertion that blogging will right the wrongs of poor corporate and organizational communication with stakeholders gives blog enthusiasts solace. Enthusiasts hope and believe that social media’s conversational form will bring relief to the distress of poor customer service and customer relationship marketing / management. So, it is the idea of a blog revolution that serves as your soma. You embrace it as something that will make society and corporations, for instance, co-exist in harmony. And, you seem to expect us to get in line – quick.
I agree that blogging is a medium, but I’m a little surprised that you used that term. Isn’t “place” or “space” the blog-speak appropriate term, along with “people” instead of audience? I wouldn’t want you to be drummed out of the Blog Thought Leaders Club. (See David Weinberger’s JOHO the blog, your own reference to Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor’s The Former Audience Joins the Party, and Jay Rosen’s The People Formerly Know as the Audience.)
Those enthusiasts are, after all, creating waffle words or jargon. (See Milton Friedman.) But, wasn’t this supposed to be the movement that did away with required appropriate norms of speech and definitions. Isn’t it the movement that frees all to speak in their own voice? The implication being, if you don’t subscribe to the dogma, “you don’t get it.” I think Stowe Boyd used that phrase.
Stowe Boyd: Your argument boils down to the fact that established mechanisms of PR have been baked into law and other conventions, and therefore blogging — which wasn’t foreseen when those where codified — shouldn’t be used in place of old timey ideas like press releases distributed by newswire services. I have suggested that we could work collectively to get these conventions, or laws, if necessary, changed.
No, my argument is two-fold. But, yes … we can work to change the old laws. However, it will take a lot of time. Continue reading