Barack Obama is the first major candidate to decline participation in the public financing system for presidential campaigns. He’s found a more effective way to raise money – by leveraging the power of the American people through online Social Networks. Get the pdf version here.
Coming out of the Supernova 2008 conference, three social web developers have started a show to discuss some of the top issues around openness and give an intelligent backgrounder on the disagreements between Google and Facebook over connecting systems to benefit users.
In the pilot episode, John McCrea, Joseph Smarr, and David Recordon spend fifteen minutes rapping on the idea behind the show and sharing their front-row perspective on what happened this week at the Supernova conference where the ongoing standoff between Google and Facebook flared back up.
I think they did really well for a first episode.
What seems to have come to a head over the last few days is the concept of Bloggers “blacklisting” PR firms that pitch them in a way they don’t want to be pitched. Gina Trapani of LifeHacker published a wiki listing PR firms that have spammed her with pitches. Suddenly, everyone’s taking sides over how to properly pitch bloggers.
Sidenote: the history of blacklists is much more serious and a heavier topic than is being given credit in all this banter about them. They’re an attempt at keeping people from acting in a certain way due to social and societal pressure, and they’re against the spirit of what I see as social media. Blacklisting spammers is, to me, appropriate, because they’re clearly flaunting law and culture. What I see many bloggers and PR professionals ranting about it not blacklisting but a lack of transparency and accountability.
Geoff Livingston seems do be quite reasonable in his analysis of the situation.
Nasty actions like publicly outing PR professionals and firms hurt real people. Bloggers (and some reporters) often act without professional ethics or thinking about how these acts affect others. I got one thing to say back to you: Take responsibility for your words and stop harming people.
Jeremy Pepper clarifies the whole Gina Trapani story, noting it was her personal email address being spammed. He also notes that junior staff at PR firms aren’t being trained and supervised not to make these mistakes. And, in typical Jeremy humor, he has a plan worth reading.
Jason Falls of Social Media Club Louisville notes that the bloggers themsevles need to be blacklisted –
I am saying that a journalist (or a blogger for that matter) who publicly humiliates someone just trying to do their job – even poorly – or goes a step further by declaring that person’s employer on a permanent banned list is performing the adult (though not mature) equivalent of Chris Hargensen ordering up buckets of pigs blood to be dumped on Carrie White at prom.
Jason makes a very good point. Not everyone at the firm that spammed you is an outright idiot. But just as we, as bloggers shouldn’t blindly blacklist PR firms, PR firms shouldn’t blacklist journalists.
Of course, Aaron Brazell is happy to be on a blacklist, because he doesn’t want to be pitched, unless a PR pro has created “some kind of professional rapport” with him. He also notes a possible solution:
I think it’s high time that the PR community finance the creation and support of a third party broker that would maintain the authenticity, privacy, trust and relationship with the blogging comunity. I’m talking about an OpenID sort of trust-based system that includes the trust-relationship management as well as a CRM tool/plugin-in for sending communications in a standardized way. This tool would provide the recipient a means of “opt out” as well as trust-based ratings, reviews, advocacy and management.
Aaron’s solution is interesting and thought-provoking. I’d like to hear more.
Jason Kintzler over at PitchEngine discusses some ways that PR professionals can more effectively get the word out including Social Media/New Media Releases, and remembering that news distribution can be effectively done via the wire services. Pitching to people requires a different tact.
Again, I go back to transparency and accountability. Sending an email to lots of people pitching something irrelevant is timewasting and is potentially asking for someone to ‘out’ your pitch. Contacting people in the way the provide for you, being clear about who and what you represent is clearly a way to get some respect.
Finally, I’ll publically state that I’m happy to hear a PR or Blogging professional’s pitch, via my email, or via the huge “Call Me” button I keep handy on the side of my website, as long as said professional has looked at my blog enough to know what interests me. I’m also on Twitter if you want to hit me that way.
UPDATE: Seems I missed something that helped start this whole thing, in which someone from Brian Solis’ team did something wrong, and Brian made an apology and some distinctions that are quite relevant.
In this post on using “Live Connections to Leverage Virtual Connections to get new, important Live Connections” I wrote last month, I interviewed Chuck Hester of iContact.
Today, the NYTimes had the same idea. Congrats to Chuck on the great publicity – he does a great job on LinkedIn Live, and all his activities.
In what has become something of a trend after my UN meeting last month, another friend invited me to meet with a world leader to discuss Social Media. (That actually sounds more formal than the dinner last night actually was.)
My US friend Tom Watson of Changing our World and On Philanthropy invited Pamela and I to join a group of friends to meet MP Tom Watson, Cabinet Office Minister from the UK.
MP Watson’s office recently released a report on the Power of Information, documented here in his blog.
Yes, his blog, the archives of which go back to 2003.
Five years ago, I set up political blog. At the time, it was seen as a radical act…People couldn’t believe that I had opened myself up to such scrutiny and occasional daily abuse.But the blog broke down the walls between legislators and electors in a way that interested me. So I persevered.
He’s also got a LastFM badge. This is a real blogger. A gentleman at dinner asked him what he looked at first as far as websites and email, and he started quoting LifeHacker and GTD and how he manages his information flow. This already is different from almost any American Politican I’ve met at any level. He also was impressed I had gone to ITP, since he’s a fan of Clay Shirky.
It is clear that Tom is passionate about helping people get a handle on their information. From the aforementioned blog link:
Today I am going to offer two arguments that I think compliment the Prime Minister’s recent announcement on public service reform.
Firstly, that freeing up data will allow us to unlock the talent British entrepreneurs. And secondly, engaging people – using the simple tools that bring them together – will allow the talents of all our people to be applied to the provision of public services.
Free up data – liberate talent and catalyse creativity. Engage – bring people together using simple tools and you empower.
The dinner was held under Chatham House Rules, which allows the participants to use the information they gathered, but not to attribute the identity or affiliation of the speakers. So, I can’t really go into depth on the discussions. However, it is clear to me that MP Tom Watson will be helping to open up the UK Government in a way that may prove quite beneficial to the citizens of the UK and be a model for us here in ‘the colonies.’
Tom will be in SF for the Web 2.0 Expo, and I’m hoping to get him together with a few of my friends who will be there. If you’re interesed, please get in touch with me.