PR links to make you think — and cringe — and cackle!

I’m not known as a “linker,” and most readers will question my credentials as a “thinker” as well. But take a few minutes to check out the info here. One will have you rolling on the floor, the other two will get you thinking about what we do and how we do it.

New Media Douchebag. This hysterical 2-minute video pokes fun at the denizens of Web 2.0, of which I am one. Don’t click if you take yourself too seriously. You’ve been warned. Hat tip, Scott Monty, who offers useful commentary with the clip. (Update: I’ve added the video below for your convenience. And here is the link to the creators.)

Passive voice rules! Yep, this little morsel comes, via boingboing, from Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen (full article). Seems that active voice isn’t always the answer in the online world. You can bet that journalism professors across America are downright suicidal. Hat tip to Jim Horton, the brightest linker AND thinker in the PR blogosphere.

Are professional associations relevant? Catherine Arrow raises the question, then challenges associations with a prescription for success in a connected world. Let’s hope PRSA leadership checks out this post. While you’re there, cruise around PR Conversations, a blog with international focus that’s growing in both readership and importance.


10 Responses to PR links to make you think — and cringe — and cackle!

  1. Breeze says:

    At the risk of sounding like one myself, may I just say:

    new media douchebags = pwned!

  2. I love the video – thanks. And also for the kind words about PRConversations – we try not to be douchbags (which I had to look up in the urban dictionary – which has expanded my English substantially).

  3. Joe Harper says:

    Passive voice rules? I think you are taking Nielsen’s remarks out of context. All he is saying is there are instances where passive voice is preferable.

    BTW is it Jacob or Jakob? Neilsen or Nielsen?

  4. Bill Sledzik says:


    That’s part of the criticism you’ll read if you follow the posts on this story. Seems a lot of folks take Jakob literally, and some are up in arms about it. And yes, he was referring to passive voice in headlines written to snag search engines, but I didn’t want to get into detail.

    It is Jakob, with a ‘k.” I knew very well and missed it on the edit. And I even double checked the spelling of the surname, but still got it wrong. The cool thing is, spelling doesn’t count online any more than good grammar. It’s all about the content, right? Suffice it to say that mistakes were made in this post. Chalk it up to haste. Those of us in J-schools are in angst over the state of Web writing. And yes, professor, I’ll fix those typos.

  5. […] is a video that explains our new PR role in simple terms. (Thanks for finding the hilarious clip, Bill.) So cheer up, it’s not like the Web will bring about the end of the […]

  6. Grant says:

    Bill … that’s one entertaining clip that highlights what many of the “new” media proponents, of which I am one, seem to forget: new or old, the keys to effective messaging are relevancy and testing, testing, testing. People can call it web 2.0, or whatever … it’s STILL the internet, and we all still need to use it judiciously on behalf of our clients. The internet is probably the most exciting development in marketing and PR in decades, but with it comes our responsibility not to use it just because it’s there. NMDs can’t seem to get a grasp on that.

  7. Andy Curran says:

    I see a little bit of the old “Mr. Hands” from the SNL “Mr. Bill” skits in there.

    Wait a minute…he has a YouTube account…that means he’s a…a…a…a…


  8. Bill Huey says:

    I read Jakob’s article, and he seems to say that the first two words are important, rather than passive voice per se.
    Thus, The New York Times’ headline, “Bodies Are Found on California Hilltop,” (passive voice) is really no better than, “Naked Women Create Excitement at Town Meeting.” (active voice).
    He goes on to recommend active voice in body text. I don’t see how this changes the rules at all.

  9. Alexia Harris says:

    The Media Douchebag clip was funny.

    But the passive voice thing? I’ve never heard of that. I guess it depends on what you learned and the rules and wants of who you write for, or what you are writing.

  10. Bill Sledzik says:

    I should probably clarify the passive voice issue, as it was a little deceptive the way I presented it in my link teaser. As Bill Huey points out, it’s the first words of a headline that are important in the world of SEO, since we’re writing not just for readers, but for search engines — the big hairy spiders who produce the Google juice that drives search engine optimization.

    Oftentimes the information-carrying words are, in fact, the “object” of the story, e.g., “Six protesters killed by roadside bomb.” The subject of the sentence is “bomb,” the object is “protesters.” But phrasing the headline in the passive voice is entirely appropriate, since the object of the action is the most important fact in the story.

    Nielsen is NOT suggesting that we run our copy through some academic “dullatron” to make it sound like journal science or worse — a legal brief. Quite the opposite. He is just reminding us that key search words need up-front positioning.

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