The social media challenge in a nutshell

Interactions between PR folks and social media have been a real source of interest to me lately. There's a lot of heat, which I suppose is a blogosphere delicacy, and a little light. I found a tidy summary of the problem:

PR and marketing have a terrible reputation among people, and bloggers in particular... The problem is that so much of PR and marketing has become about “message control” and “driving the conversation,” when the whole joy of “social media” is that the conversation is much less controllable now. We’re people, we don’t LIKE having our conversations driven by others, after all.

But that said, what DO we want from PR? Are we prepared to stop freaking out every time someone in PR or marketing wants to engage with us? We don’t want control, but aside from that, we can’t really tell PR and marketing what we DO want.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge

It's convenient to assume that bloggers and other early adopters of social media have it all figured out and that the challenge for business is to learn the new environment. It's more complicated than that. Everyone is figuring this out as we go along.

Here's an idea: let's start with the assumption that we're interacting with people—not labels, straw men, or evil interlopers. Whether you approach things from the blogger side or from a business perspective, it's too easy to stereotype the other. A little understanding, combined with what you learned in kindergarten, would go a long way.

About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
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