Goodbye

It is with sadness that I have to announce I am leaving Bacon’s.  I have very much enjoyed the exchanges I have had with all of you in this space, and I will miss it.  However, I am sure that we will connect again sometime, somewhere in the blogosphere…

With my departure this Bacon’s blog will be discontinued until further notice.  Of course the numerous other informational online resources of Bacon’s will remain in place, specifically the Bacon’s website and The Navigator, the company’s weekly newsletter.

Again, thanks for all of the good conversations and keeping me inspired.

New feeds

If it seems like forever since I’ve posted anything here it’s because…well…it’s been forever since I posted anything here.  The actual job has been keeping me pretty busy but that should downshift in the near future.

Before I get back to the exciting content you are waiting for, though, here are some new blogs I’m adding to my RSS feed list bringing the total number of feeds I read to 288:

Couldn’t agree more…

…with Shel Holtz when he says that large companies have every right to participate in the blogosphere discussion going on about them.  Anyone who feels they shouldn’t be there is, in my opinion, trying to squash that voice for a reason of their own.  Participation by companies, PR agencies and other share holders in the topics being talked about online should be valued and welcomed with open arms.  That of course assumes that, using Shel’s driving analogy, they abide by the rules of the road and aren’t doing anything that violates the openness and honesty that have made blogs so successful.  No matter what particular tactic the company employs, whether it’s a product-specific blog, one by a PR guy or any other form it might take, as long as the purpose is clear then it deserves a spot on the road.

Let blogs speak for themselves

Link: PR blogs need to dig deeper than mainstream headlines – PRWeek US.

Keith O’Brien hits another home-run as he points out that blogging isn’t about shouting from the rooftops every time you put a new post up.  It’s about doing good work, in an authentic voice, that adds something to the conversation.  Check out this quote:

But there is one problem PR leaders have: they can never really talk about the good stuff – like clients. Or they can only do so in the safest, most managed terms. That is entirely understandable. But it places extra demands on the blogger to ask, “How can I express something truly meaningful about our industry?”

Any company that has clients and also tries blogging will hit a few potholes in terms of posting something they ought not to about said clients.  It’s part of the growing pains.  But keeping the idea of adding value in mind is important and could – and should – be the deciding factor as to whether something gets blogged or not.

All blogging is local

Link: PressThink: Seeders of Clouds: Latest on Newspaper Blogging.

Great (as always) thoughts by Jay Rosen on blogs and the newspapers that they can support.  I’ve long held the belief that the future of blogging lies in bringing passionate writers and experts under the umbrellas established news organizations can provide. That way the publications tap into an influential niche audience that saves them the hiring and training costs of bringing on a full staff member and the blogger finds a great distribution outlet for their content.  And if the revenues are shared equitably then it’s a win-win for everyone involved.  It’s an especially likely scenario in light of rumors the Seattle Post-Intelligencer may go web-only.

Let blogs speak for themselves

Keith O’Brien hits another home-run as he points out that blogging isn’t about shouting from the rooftops every time you put a new post up.  It’s about doing good work, in an authentic voice, that adds something to the conversation.  Check out this quote:

But there is one problem PR leaders have: they can never really talk about the good stuff – like clients. Or they can only do so in the safest, most managed terms. That is entirely understandable. But it places extra demands on the blogger to ask, “How can I express something truly meaningful about our industry?”

Any company that has clients and also tries blogging will hit a few potholes in terms of posting something they ought not to about said clients.  It’s part of the growing pains.  But keeping the idea of adding value in mind is important and could – and should – be the deciding factor as to whether something gets blogged or not.

Quick Takes: 3/6/06

Too much good stuff and not enough time.

  • Shel Holtz points to a Washington Post article that emphasizes the pratical benefits to blog monitoring.
  • Corante has a nice series of links in case you need to play catch-up on the NewCommForum that recently wrapped-up.  This is what the blogosphere was talking about while traditional media was discussing the AAAA conference in Orlando.
  • I have to admit that as hard as I try I don’t get what’s so exciting or neat about MySpace. Despite my thick-headedness the service is apparently twice as big as the entire rest of the blogosphere.
  • There’s a quote in this article about AP’s new video service only being IE compatible that says much more clearly a point I’ve tried to make.  San Jose Mercury News web editor Michael Bazeley says, ““I can’t believe we’re still foisting platform issues on our users.”
  • I never saw how having the blogosphere become an “echo chamber” was dangerous.  Boring, maybe, but not dangerous.  There will always be someone who will come along and kick the system in the pants when an environment becomes too navel-gazing.  Just keep looking for that person.
  • The Machine continues to prove just how valueable he is by providing this list of new or recently changed PR and communications blogs.
  • The curtain is lifted on pitching practices in this interview with Fortune Magazine’s Adam Lashinsky. (via Eric Tatro)
  • Some enterprising students got together and put together this list of newspapers who best utilize blogs.

I’m feeling better…

It must be March because yet another wave of “the press release is dead” posts are making their way around the blogosphere.  Some are coming out syaing yes, it’s dead.  Others are coming to the defense of the lowly press release.

There’s a bit toward the end of the U2 concert film Rattle & Hum where Bono announces to the crowd that the band is going to be taking a bit of time off to “imagine it up all over again.”  I think that’s what needs to happen regarding the press release as a tool for the public relations industry.  We just need to imagine it up all over again.

The thing is I don’t belive there’s an industry-wide solution to how to most effectively utilize the press release in the new media world.  There need to be discussions about using press releases and in what why to use them that mirror the talks that lead to blogging or podcasting.  How do they fit in with the overall communications package your company is offering?

Press releases have a purpose, but only if they’re well thought out and add something to the conversation, just like blogs.  They might not be the right tool for some corporations just like blogs might not be right.  So here’s my challenge to everyone reading this blog: If your company puts out press releases think about them for a few minutes.  Think back through the last month and identify what messages your company communicated to the press or the public.  Then think about what communications channel you would have used if the press release hadn’t been available to you.  Could you have used a blog?  Could you have used something else like a podcast?

The answer likely won’t be uniform for all the messages you’ve identified as necessary to communication.  For some a release is the perfect tool.  For some a blog post might have sufficed.  Others might fit into some other category.  The key is simply to rethink the process and decide what’s going to work best.  Strip away all your pre-conceived notions and institutional traditions.  In fact it might be useful to bring in one or more people who aren’t part of the normal marketing/PR/comms department to get a fresh perspective.  Avoiding groupthink is important since you are in essence tearing down all existing walls in order to rebuild them in a stronger fashion.

Words of wisdom

Tom gets to the heart of the issue of A-listers, link trading, time-management, blogrolls and favorites in a manner that should be quite disheartening for those who have gotten too big for their britches.  On the other hand, if you’ve ever reconsidered your decision to blog based on getting enough traffic this might perk you up a bit.

Tom’s point is that this whole conversation about assigning letter grades of importance and who is and who isn’t on a blogroll is kind of, well, silly.  You know whether the content you’re putting out there is good or not.  If it is, good for you.  If not, work on improving it.

Cell blogging

The news that Google has entered into an agreement with Sony Ericsson to allow users of Sony’s mobile phones to post to their Blogger blogs from their cell phones.  As a Blogger user I’m a little honked off by the exclusivitity of this deal.  You’d think Google, which sells itself as trying to open up the web for everyone, would be a bit more open about this.  Are deals with other phone companies coming?  I would hope so since I don’t have a Sony phone and don’t plan on getting one any time soon.

What’s made the world of Web2.0 so fascinating is that the tools are available to the entire community.  I’d say Google should lead the charge on this, as it has so many other things, by opening up this functionality to all platforms.  That would be good for the company, since it would build brand loyalty, and good for the cell providers who could get all those Blogger users using their products.

(Note: The original version of this post was a bit on the rant-y side.  I’ve since come down off the caffeine buzz and made it a bit more constructive.)