Geoff Livingston, aka, the Buzz Bin, has told me to buzz off.
This morning, Geoff banned me from the BB saying I had violated his comment policy. Maybe I did. If you care about such things, read the post and decide for yourself.
Friends tell me there’s even a Twitter thread going on this whole mess, which is kinda cool. Since I gave up the Twitter habit, it’s a bit like having people gossip about you behind your back. I was never that popular before I started the blog!
The road to my banishment from BB started with Geoff’s assertions, in that same post, that PR in the “real” business world is just another marketing function. It helps companies sell their wares and promote their brands. That’s it. I wasn’t surprised, as the post is entirely consistent with Geoff’s past writings. So I decided I’d ignore it.
But when Geoff ran off Heather Yaxley — telling her to take her ideas and post them on her own blog — well, it got my dander up. Call it chivalry if you’d like, but I felt obligated to defend my British colleague. By the way, Heather has posted her thoughts at Greenbanana.
This isn’t the first time Geoff and I have disagreed, but apparently it will be the last. Unless, of course, he chimes in on this post. Geoff, your comments are still welcome here. Our disagreements have been a little testy at times, but I would hardly call them uncivil. But then, it takes a lot to piss me off.
Geoff has deleted my last comment — the straw the broke the camel’s back, he called it. I don’t normally keep copies of comments I leave on blogs, but I saw this coming, so I saved this one. Here it is in all its glory, a comment that’s been characterized as a personal attack.
Since you don’t seem to welcome disagreement here, I will take your suggestion and drop BB from my feeder. Let me suggest, however, that you drop “PR” from the tagline of this blog until you learn a bit more about the field. Start with the books I listed in that earlier comment and you’ll find all the cases you’re seeking.
BTW, Heather Yaxley, whom you ran off yesterday using a similar rant, has posted some of the cases you seek over at her blog. But I’m sure you know that. I don’t expect you’ll hear from her again either. She, like me, prefers a conversation.
Geoff is a pretty successful marketing guy by all accounts, and his firm appears to do a decent business. His interpretation of public relations, on the other hand, is a bit rudimentary and limited to the tactics that support marketing.
This view of PR isn’t unusual, and it’s been a challenge for public relations professionals since I got into this business more than 30 years ago. I spent 16 years in the trenches before coming to Kent State, and I dealt with dozens of marketing folks to develop hundreds of integrated campaigns. Smart marketers know that PR tools are vital to amplify the message, so they work with us. I consider Geoff one of those.
But what most marketers overlook is how PR fits into the organization and the other vital work it does. But in their defense, it’s the marketer’s job to help sell stuff. It’s PR’s job to tend to the many other relationships an organization maintains. Our jobs intersect at times, but they are hardly the same thing.
Geoff understands the uses of social media in marketing, and he’s worked hard to take a leadership role in the discussions about them. His firm’s campaign for Goodwill of Greater Washington was a feature of a presentation I did with my colleague, Michele Ewing, last week in Cleveland. Michele will discuss the case again in our day-long “You, Too!” conference next Friday here at Kent State.
If Geoff viewed my comments as personal attacks, I assure you that was not my intent. I simply felt compelled to stand up for my profession and my own creds. I want to apologize if my remarks seem insensitive. Yet just this morning, I received a scathing email “buzzed” to me from a certain blogger saying he has “no respect” for academics who can’t bring the “real world” to the classroom and that we do a real “disservice” to our students.
Since the remarks came in an email directed only to me, I won’t reprint them here. But you needed to know about them for context.
For the record, I must defend my program at Kent State and other professional programs like ours.
Here’s the pitch:
Over the past 10 years, PRKent has placed 92% of its grads into jobs in the profession. Our four full-time PR faculty members bring a combined 85 years of “real world” experience to the classroom. All have earned the APR designation from PRSA; one is a member of the PRSA College of Fellows (Yeah, that’s me.) We are four senior counselors who’ve worked for major PR and advertising agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and prominent nonprofits. We’ve all been at “the table” and we know just a bit about the “real world” of public relations.
So, Geoff, I do take offense to the notion that we somehow don’t get it. And I suspect the students who’ve come through this program will feel even more strongly than I. (Cool it, guys. No piling on!)
So the conversation between ToughSledding and Buzz Bin ends today. While it’s has been contentious at times, that’s in part what makes this medium so interesting to me. But you know, I think it’s time for the so-called “PR Blog Party” to enlarge its tent.
I learned a lesson today. I hope you did, too. That’s what I do here. But when the day is done, I’ll be chocking this incident up to my “Meatballs Mantra.” Let’s all try to take ourselves a little less seriously, what do you say?
I should probably add a trackback, but — nah!
Update: Finally got around to checking out the Twitter buzz. It didn’t amount to much, but I thought the screen capture told more of a story than the BB logo, so I changed the artwork.