Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blogging about Blogs ... I'm bored already!

I had a great chat with Martin Waxman today who runs a PR shop called Palette. Very charming and likable fellow. We talked about feeling like ‘outsiders’ in the social media scene. While we both blog and lead active social media lives, we both feel that this elite ecosystem made up of media, PR people, marketers and some corporate types seems to have a vernacular and secret handshake all on its own when it comes to social media.

My complaint to Martin was that the PR blogs I read regularly seem to focus so heavily on the subject of blogging and social media. It’s as if we found a new toy and we can’t stop talking about it. Quite frankly, I’m bored reading about podcasts, wikis, blogging, word of mouth … yawn.

Yes, our industry is in a topsy-turvy time as citizen journalism is creating new issues for us and our clients and social media practices must be addressed. However, little is being written or discussed about real and pressing issues affecting our industry. This may be due to the fact that there is a lack of senior PR voices in Canada on the blogosphere that can address these issues in an open collaborative environment. PR blogging, I believe, can be more meaningful and valuable to our community if we open up subject areas that move us off the social media phenomenon and into genuine issues affecting our business.

I would love to see PR blogs discuss topics of interest including:

HR: Where is great PR talent hiding? How are agencies attracting talent? Are we poaching from the same shops all the time or is anyone out there doing anything innovative in the HR arena? What are some great retention strategies? Are Gen Y’s that different from the rest of us?

Compensation: When do you say enough is enough? How are agencies tackling the issue of booming salary expectations? Does anyone have interesting compensation models? Any cool rewards you want to talk about, what's worked in the past? Let’s share some best practices once in awhile.

Work-Life Balance: Where do we start? How are some agencies creating sustainable work-life balance for staffers? Work from home? Nap rooms? Confess … we want to know and learn from each other.

Employee Mentorship: How do some firms mount mentorship programs? Do they work? Can your client be your mentor?

This is just the start of some online conversations. I’m hopeful that some PR bloggers will take it upon themselves to shelf the “blogging blogs” for a little while and get down to the business of PR. And yes, I’ll be leading the way for sure. Stay tuned …


10 comments:

Parker said...

Julie,

Great post, and I agree with a great deal of what you wrote. We social media bloggers do tend to look inwards too often, when we should be looking at the greater world.

However, I feel that this is part of what is important to our industry and deserves its fair share of attention.

I am inspired, though, and resolve to try and write a non-social media piece sometime in the next few days.

Cheers,

-Parker

Martin Waxman said...

Hi Julie,
Great talking to you, too. I couldn't agree more about using blogs to have a frank, open and hopefully lively exchange on these and other challenges to our ever-changing industry.

I'd also like to suggest one more: How should Canadian PR agencies, working for multinational clients, deal with a local story that, through social media, jumps the border and suddenly takes on a life of its own?

BTW, I really enjoyed your mingling post.

David Jones said...

Great post. I couldn't agree more. Certainly, I blog about social media a fair bit because it's a passion of mine and it's something that I am continually trying to get my head around and apply to my day-to-day business.

And, I suppose, I get my general PR topics covered on the Inside PR podcast. When Terry Fallis and I started IPR, we resolved that its content would be primarily about our industry. There are other podcast that cover social media/social networking, etc. and we didn't set out to be a Canadian copy. We've always looked at the podcast as the delivery tool for a discussion about PR and not a chat about the delivery tool, though we don't hesitate to talk about podcasts or blogs or Facebook when it's appropriate.

All that being said, there is a need for a broader discussion about our industry through bloggers who are running their own show at their firms. You, Martin, the CCPRF blog, Joe Thornley, Mylene Forget...the list goes on. I know you're never backward about coming forward, so I'm looking forward to you starting a few good discussions.

Julie Rusciolelli said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. David, I love your podcast with Terry, but last week's show on "podcasting" well, you lost me at "Hello." But I do believe your show does tackle some bigger issues about our industry. Unfortunately, it's not the case with so many other blogs and podcasts who constantly inundate you with social media drivel. As a president of a very busy PR firm, working on everything from issues management to lip gloss launches, not everything in our firm revolves around social media. In fact, many of our clients still have a traditional approach to stakeholder outreach, which is working very well for them. So what I’d love, and I think you can all help with this, is start some online conversations that includes us all and will benefit the greater good of our community. We should definitely still discuss social media implications, but let’s not make that our sole purpose.

Gary Schlee said...

Nicely stated, Julie. When I started blogging, I was determined to make it a forum for talking about PR education issues. When I did talk about social media, I often inserted an apology. Because few Canadian PR educators are in this space, it's sometimes too easy to stray into social-media-tactics territory.

In fact, having said that, my blog will probably wallow in social media myopia for the next month as I try to promote Talk Is Cheap aimed at PR practitioners in the Toronto area who haven't yet explored the new media space. (There, got my plug in. Perhaps, Julie, you'd like to do a presentation on using blogs to foster conversations that will benefit the greater good of the PR community?).

Julie Rusciolelli said...

You may "plug away" anytime Gary. I have loads of respect for what you do. I would be delighted to pop over to your "Talk is Cheap" scrum in November. But unlike the PR guys that blog in our industry, I am not pulling my "twitter" out that night.

I run an agency, my issues extend far beyond social media and gizmos. I can provide a traditional voice from an unconventional point of view. Blogging can start some great conversations in those areas; I would love to nudge those along. See you then!

Melanie Seasons said...

Hi Julie.

I found this post through 'Blogging Me, Blogging You" and as a Gen Y, PR blogger, I wanted to throw in my two cents.

I've been in digital PR only for about a year and a half. It was always in my plan to blog about PR, but I only wanted to start once I had enough experience (and content) to be able to contribute to the conversations. However, when I actually started Fake Plastic Noodles, I decided that it couldn't *just* be about PR. I wanted to really open it up to be more than that. I want to explore how PR affects my personal life as well as my professional and I want to bring the PR conversation to people who may not otherwise be interested in it (or hell, even know about it).

I enjoy reading PR blogs and opinions from the experts, but as it often tends to happen with career-specific blogs, a lot of the content just ends up being aggregated between them. I'll be glad to see people exploring a little bit of life outside PR.

Thanks for your post!

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

I agree with your comment.

I think you and others who are of the same opinion would really enjoy the ongoing discussions about various communication issues at MarCom Professional.

The url is www.marcomprofessional.com

Cheers,

Leah

Bill Smith said...

Hi Julie,

Great post. I run three blogs, one for an improv comedy troupe I am handling publicity for, another for my writing samples for potential employers and a personal space showing off my photography.

I already know how social media works, I like visiting your blog because it covers off the big picture issues facing the PR profession.

Cheers

Bill

Ian Ross said...

I'm chiming in a little late on this one. I suppose better late than never.
Agree that Canadian PR blogs are filled with social media commentary, and little about other aspects of our profession.
When I lanuched my blog (www.prvoyageur.wordpress.com) seven weeks ago, I made a committment to myself to split time between social media' impact on PR and other aspects of the profession. I was grappling with the same issue that you've raised here.
Well... so far so good. But I'll admit that it takes more effort to post on traditional PR topics.