The response? Not much. But I want to share what I learned.
The Twitterati suggested just 4 books, and only 2 of those books relate to media relations. One tweep suggested I assign Cluetrain — the first book on “business 2.0.” Cluetrain certainly alludes to the topic of media relations (“Public relations does not relate to the public,” and “Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters,”) but it’s not the right fit for a class focused on strategies and tactics. It’s also a bit insulting to the kind of PR professionals we nurture here at Kent State, as they are neither hucksters nor flacks.
Cluetrain is a work of philosophy, and a pretty good one given its topic. But it’s not the right fit for a class trying to learn a specific skill at a professional level.
Another tweep suggested Clay Shirkey’s “Here Comes Everybody,” a book that offers substantial insight on 2.0 community-building. But like Cluetrain, it offers no insights on the topic of media relations. That wasn’t Shirkey’s mission.
Clay is a great storyteller who’s created an engaging and readable book. It’s well researched, although the absence of endnotes often had me scrambling to a bibliography for answers that weren’t always there. Why not just insert numbers to the text so I can find the citation easily? It’s a disturbing trend I also see among the pop historians and others. Wonder what’s behind it.
“Here Comes Everybody” is a work of sociology supported by interesting data and anecdotal evidence. Clay’s observations on who does the heavy lifting in online communities somewhat calls into question the book’s title. It’s really a minority of group members who contribute the bulk of the input and content, Clay’s data tell us. It’s far from “everybody.”
If you found value in Tapscott’s “Wikinomics,” you’ll find additional value in “Here Comes Everybody.” I’m glad I read it, as it triggered more than a few “I-did-not-know-that” moments.
Back to media relations. Maybe it’s too early in the evolution of 2.0 to expect the kind of nuts-n-bolts public relations books I seek. Or maybe, just maybe, those texts are only now being written. (Not by me.)
The other 2 books my tweeps suggested are, indeed, germane to media relations.
In the next 10 days or so, I’ll publish my take on the second edition of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” by David Meerman Scott and “Putting the Public Back Into Public Relations,” by Brian Solis & Dierdre Breakenridge.
Why not now? I haven’t written them. This post creates a sense of urgency. I’m not good without a deadline.