Blogging isn’t hereditary, and I can prove it!

I’m headed to the woods of Western New York for a weekend of communing with Mother Nature and her creatures. With any luck, I’ll have one or two of them in my freezer by Monday. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried my venison pepper steak.

Until then, some Friday musings…

Blogging is not in the genes. Earlier this week, my Technorati page turned up a link from “Steele Works.” (That link has yet to show on my WordPress stats, but that’s another story.)

fish.jpgTurns out I had quite a hand in the first, and possibly the last blog post by my son, Chris. While he’s been reading ToughSledding on and off since I launched it, Chris was none too happy when his professor of Information Architecture required everyone in the graduate-level class to get blogging as part of their total immersion into digital information. (He also required they use Blogger. Go figure.)

So Chris, who’s just 22, did what any angry blogger might, he posted a rant — a rant about blogging. Here’s my favorite passage:

My old man even admits that the blogo-sphere is an “echo-chamber” and the majority of people paying attention are other bloggers. Some of his recent posts mimic a school-yard argument and are a perfect example of how no one’s paying attention to us … except us. (And I don’t even like the idea of being included in “us”).

So there you have it — proof that there is no genetic connection to Web 2.0. But the kid sure has attitude, eh? Wonder where he got that?

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A surprise on Facebook this week. Amanda’s back! Yep, Amanda Chapel, late of the infamous Strumpette blog, re-emerged on the social network this week with her amanda.jpgentire network of 230 friends intact. She disappeared more than a month ago, supposedly because Facebook doesn’t allow pseudonyms. Right!

It’s interesting to note just how many of Amanda’s vociferous detractors are also her friends on Facebook. This puzzles me. I mean, when I hate someone, I don’t friend them. But I guess it’s all part of that echo chamber I’ve yet to figure out, right Chris?

Maybe the whole damn blogosphere is just make believe, like Second Life — or like Amanda. How cool woud that be?

My regular readers know that I stirred up a veritable s*%# storm last month with this post. So let’s NOT do that again, OK? I’m going off grid for the weekend, but I’m gonna be armed.

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Some really, really interesting stuff on measurement. Spent Tuesday with the folks at Fleishman-Hillard’s HQ in St. Louis, and some of the discussion there got me thinking again about social-media measurement. Turns out that one of F-H’s fleishman-hillard-158x82.gifdivisions is developing a serious metric for measuring reputation and its impact on the selling price of stock, which may be the ultimate gauge of credibility and trust — at least in the C suites.

In this story from Business Week, published last summer when I was off in a canoe somewhere, included this comment from Paul Argenti of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth:

“If we can get this right, we have found the holy grail of communications.”

So I will leave you with this all-important question: What is your quest? No, no…What is your name? Wait…What is your favorite color?

And that’s tonight’s lesson from the old professor. So sorry to rush off like this, but I gotta get to WalMart before they close. I’m low on ammo.

8 Responses to Blogging isn’t hereditary, and I can prove it!

  1. Noah says:

    “Blue. Wait. No, red. Ahhhhhhh!”

    – Monty Python

  2. Stacy Wessels says:

    There’s a 10-point buck in my backyard with your name on it. But you have to make the venison pepper steak. That’s good stuff.

  3. Bill Sledzik says:

    And there’s an 8-point on my roof rack. That will have to do.

  4. Blair Boone says:

    I’d have thought a weekend in the echo chamber of my remote cabin at an undisclosed location — not to mention standing around in wet snow waiting to whack Bambi — would have dulled your blogging edge. Congrats on the good shooting. I expect to enjoy some of those tasty chops in the future.

    In the meantime, you PR social media types may want to check out this story

    http://adage.com/agencynews/article?article_id=122086

    in today’s Ad Age. Seems some of the leaders over here in the shameless hucksterism branch of mass com are also working on metrics for the unmeasurable — word of mouth, brand value, etc. As I remarked to a colleague about this article, we all know the future is going to look very different. We’re just not sure which model is even plausible yet.

    Of course, we ad types are used to radical change. Remember mechanical art? (Correct answer — if you remember it, you’re too old to still be working in advertising.)

  5. Bill Sledzik says:

    Ability of the ad/marketing types to adapt is what has a lot of PR folks worried. You ad folks are pretty good at it. We are not, as least not traditionally.

    Many say social media should have been PR’s domain, useful for dialog, relationship building, symmetry. Our friends in ad/marketing view the channels of social media as more weapons in the arsenal. They get the dialog thing, sort of, but they also understand how to drive sales using whatever communication is best for reaching and swaying the target group.

    Jeremy Pepper posted a long (albeit poorly written) rant on this topic, telling us all how the advertising folks will win the battle for social media, as they have with all other media, including Web 1.0. He scores come decent points if you’re willing to wade through a long essay.

    http://pop-pr.blogspot.com/2007/10/pr-will-lose-social-media-to.html

    Yep, for the past 20 years, we’ve sat at that remote camp in the woods and talked of the changes in advertising and PR. Somehow we’ve both managed to keep up with the trends, not bad for a couple of 50somethings.

    We succeed, I think, because we have perspective — a sense of history that includes mechanical art. Many of the younger, social media evangelists don’t have that. We know that who controls social media this time next year really doesn’t matter all that much. They will have to learn it.

    And if the whole damn business comes unraveled, we can always meet at that remote cabin in the woods and live off the land. Can’t think of a better reason to stockpile ammo.

  6. Blair Boone says:

    Sorry I couldn’t get through Jeremy’s rant — it’s incoherent. Though I will note that it’s telling that very early in the post he manages to slip in an ad for himself and a few co-conspirators. Complaining about advertising taking over Web 2.0 when you start a post with an ad for your consulting service is, uh, a bit inconsistent.

    Also I think his point is beside the point. What we do isn’t a contest between advertising and PR, nor should the media we use to get out the message be proprietary to any discipline. When everything is going well, our disciplines are complementary, not contrary. I know this is anathema to some PR purists, but it’s a hard fact we’re paid to make our clients and their products and services attractive to people who can use those products and services.

    We do the same thing — communicate on behalf of our clients. Why? Because we can do it much better than they can without us. When the day comes that’s no longer true (something that’s implied in the Ad Age article I mentioned earlier), we’re history.

    So far we’re still getting paid, so we must be doing it better than they can — or than (so far) consumers and social media amateurs can. No, that’s not always true. Sometimes we suck and amateurs are surprisingly good. But that’s not the way to bet. At least not yet.

    I don’t think we succeed because we have perspective (a polite way of saying we’re too old). We succeed because we’re good. Also because (as you also observe) we keep up with the trends. Because if you stand still for about two seconds in this business, you’re a target.

    You’ve got an 8-point buck on your roof rack because he stopped and looked back. We don’t know where all the shiny new tools in Web 2.0 are going yet, and that’s part of the fun. But if we look back with longing at our comfy old media tools and try to avoid the shock of the new, we’ll end up as (to resurrect a musty old saying from way back in the 90s) “roadkill on the Information Highway.”

    And I think it’s cool beans that a lot of the people arguing about Web 2.0 are too young to remember quaint old phrases such as “Information Highway.”

    Sorry for the long comment. You got me started.

  7. Bill Sledzik says:

    That’s the job of the blogger: to get it started. What other purposes we serve I’m still trying to figure out. But it’s deer season, so I plan to spend less time worrying about Web 2.0 and more time filling my freezer with nature’s bounty.

  8. Noah Grieco says:

    I thought you might be interested in some information I came across recently, while blog browsing.

    According to a report from the Arketi Group (www.arketi.com) journalists are increasingly viewing blogs as an important research tool:

    “84% of journalists participating in the study said they have or would use blogs as a primary or secondary source while researching an article.”

    Maybe the blogoshpere is more than just an echo chamber after all?

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