The trough of PR blog disillusionment

05Nov07

In one month three PR blogs quit the scene – namely TWL, Strumpette and the Friendly Ghost. Normally I wouldn’t read too much into this and yet a little part of me can hear the quiet ringing of alarm bells.

I remember the last time I thought like this very clearly – it was when lastminute.com ran their IPO in spring of 2000. We all remember what happened next and it wasn’t pretty. However, I do not believe it is all doom and gloom as people (I hope) have learned from past extremes, and are far more cautious about hype and reality. Nevertheless I have to ask myself what has happened to the PR blogs?

Checking out a few of the UK PR bloggers on my blogroll (aka PR Blogger, Simon Says and DrewB) there seems to be a common trend – more valuable content and less frequent posts. Some of the more cynical amongst us could say that it was because no-one was reading the blogs so they gave up, others may think that we shouldn’t get too hung up on blogs as the majority of people are using other tools like Facebook or Twitter.

I am not too sure.

My colleague Steve Loynes is a firm believer that we need to get back to basics and whereas it is important that we embrace the new 2.0 world, we should not forget the foundation part of influencer relations. And maybe this is what it comes down to. People have tested the water with blogs and have now added it to their repertoire of knowledge as oppose to prioritising it at the expense of more core skills.

Nevertheless, I still think that in a few years time social media will be a central part of every campaign. Borrowing Gartner’s hype cycle to make a point, I think today’s PR practitioners have drank the Kool Aid and are now recovering from a mini-hangover in the trough of disillusionment.

The number of blogs will be on the rise again but I think we will see:

  • far more openness (less pseudonyms),
  • far more focus (I do not want to know in your blog what you had for dinner)
  • more ways to interact (twitter feed anyone?)
  • fewer posts (less is more)

To finish on a positive note, I thought it would be worthwhile to say that in the middle of all this grumbling about ex-blogs I should highlight a new blog that has been created by Mark Pinsent whose other blogs I found to be a cracking read.

Even though I have posted this last bit before, it would be a pity not to include it again seeing as it is a) apt and b) funny). (Source: Valleyway)

Dead Blogger Sketch

The cast:
MR. BLOGLINES
DATACENTER OWNER

The sketch:
A customer enters a datacenter.

Mr. Bloglines: ‘Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
(The owner does not respond.)

Mr. Bloglines: ‘Ello, Miss?

Owner: What do you mean “miss”?

Mr. Bloglines: I’m sorry, my computer has a virus. I wish to make a complaint!

Owner: We’re closin’ to restart our generators.

Mr. Bloglines: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this blogger what I installed in a rack not half an hour ago from this very facility.

Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Drupal Fork … What’s, uh … What’s wrong with it?

Mr. Bloglines: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…his IM’s on idle.

Mr. Bloglines: Look, matey, I know a dead blogger when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

Owner: No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s takin’ a break! Remarkable blog, the Drupal Fork, idn’it, ay? Beautiful comments!

Mr. Bloglines: The comments don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

Owner: Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s idle!

Mr. Bloglines: All right then, if he’s idle, I’ll wake him up! (shouting at the server cage) ‘Ello, Mister Blithering Blogger! I’ve got a lovely fresh article from Digg for you if you show …
(owner hits the cage)

Owner: There, he pinged!

Mr. Bloglines: No, he didn’t, that was you hitting the cage!

Owner: I never!!

Mr. Bloglines: Yes, you did!

Owner: I never, never did anything…

Mr. Bloglines: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) ‘ELLO BLOGGY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock post call!
(Takes server’s removable drives out of the cage and thumps them against the rack. Throws them up in the air and watches them plummet to the floor.)

Mr. Bloglines: Now that’s what I call a dead blogger.

Owner: No, no…..No, ‘e’s crashed!

Mr. Bloglines: CRASHED?!?

Owner: Yeah! You crashed him, just as he was rebootin’! Drupal Forks crash easily, major.

Mr. Bloglines: Um … now look … now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. That blogger is definitely deceased, and when I installed it not ‘alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of posts was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged flamewar.

Owner: Well, he’s … he’s, ah … probably pining for Fake Steve.

Mr. Bloglines: PININ’ for FAKE STEVE?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did his trackbacks fall flat the moment I got ‘im home?

Owner: The Drupal Fork prefers to moderate its trackbacks! Remarkable blog, id’nit, squire? Lovely comments!

Mr. Bloglines: Look, I took the liberty of examining that blogger when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been posting anything in the
first place was that it had an RSS feed NAILED into it.
(pause)

Owner: Well, o’course it was nailed into it! If I hadn’t nailed that feed in, it would have nuzzled up to Fark and Digg, violated their terms of service left and right, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Mr. Bloglines: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this blog wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million visitors through it! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised!

Owner: No no! ‘E’s pining!

Mr. Bloglines: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This blogger is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to his feed, ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metaphoric processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the grid! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-BLOGGER!! (pause)

Owner: Well, I’d better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the back of the colo, and uh,
we’re right out of bloggers.

Mr. Bloglines: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Owner: I got a MySpace page.
(pause)

Mr. Bloglines: Pray, does it talk?

Owner: Nnnnot really. It does play this terrible song, though.

Mr. Bloglines: WELL IT’S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?

Owner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

Mr. Bloglines: Well. (pause)

Owner: (quietly) D’you…. d’you want to be my Facebook friend?

Mr. Bloglines: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.

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8 Responses to “The trough of PR blog disillusionment”

  1. Or in my case, a pause because family events have taken priority in recent weeks. I’ll be right back :-)

  2. Understand Drew, family has to take priority over blogging. Hope everything is OK and look forward to reading your views again soon.

  3. TFG just found his mojo again. You’ll have to redraw that chart Jonny.

    Then again, is it the proverbial dead cat bounce. And could you add a bouncing cat to the chart? Maybe after the trough of disillusionment?

  4. A bouncing cat to the chart?

    I may have to ping Gartner about that – I think they have missed a trick. And good to see that TFG is back.

    I know that having the time to write detailed blogs as well as continue with the day job is extremely time consuming. Maybe this is the real reason why so many people have dropped out of blogging – unless there is a clear link to how blogging can help someone in their job then it just won’t take priority.

  5. 5 Daintree

    Interesting… blogs are the web2.0 canaries? Sounds about right.

    I like what you’re saying about how blogs fit into the overall strategy – they’re a feature of the strategy (indeed, as they are a feature of a technology set), not *the* strategy.

  6. 6 Daintree

    oh, btw, sorry, but had to skip to the end of your screenplay – bit long for attention-span2.0!

  7. Hi Daintree

    That’s right. Blogs are not the strategy – they are a complementary strategy to other communication tools. What we have to do is understand which tools we should spend our limited time persuing for the greatest impact.

    And yep – long screenplay but IMHO very funny. If I knew how to add a scirpt to a blog post to jump to the end I would.


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