Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.

One of my colleagues was kind enough to direct me to the Faster Future blog site today, where I read for the 5,000th time about how smart and savvy "online PR" people are and how dumb and naive "traditional PR" people are.

Thank you for all that.  I must admit that there are  just not enough articles and posts out there yet extolling the total virtues of online PR and interactive marketing and social media and digital marketing and whatever other label you want to pin on its lapel, while also deriding the absolutely loathsome and unethical ways of old school PR.

In case you've missed it, the story goes like this:  

Once upon a time there was traditional public relations. Press agents, publicists, flack and spindoctors would use their cunning and whiley ways to bribe or otherwise fool media into covering their stories.  The goal, of course, was to get to the masses with one-sided messages. Unfortunately, these traditional PR people had to trick or kiss up to the media in order to get their stories out there. Apparently the media were very naive or easily fooled, but they do not exist anymore, so there is no way to know for certain.

Sometimes these traditional marketing people would use ads and sometimes they would use direct mail.  Sometimes they would even have events or use some form of guerilla marketing that allowed them to come face to face with consumers.  Fortunately, like the media, people were easily fooled when under the spell of traditional PR people.

It was a dark and dreadful time.

But now we have evolved beyond the real world and into the virtual world, where evil companies fronted with evil traditional PR people can no longer control the message.  Finally, consumers are in charge.  Individually they decide what they want to read and watch and listen to.  Then they decide what to do with the information.  And they share their opinions openly!

And the stupid traditional PR people whose lips hurt from sucking up to the media for so many years try to compete by sucking up to bloggers and message board participants.  They try to create Web sites and MySpace and Facebook pages that force messages down consumers' unsuspecting throats.

But alas, only the "Online PR" people have the magic ability to understand the subtle nuances of conversation.

And that's pretty much the whole story.  It seems that no one watches TV any more (or if they do it is only online).  And no one listens to the radio. No one goes to the movies. No one reads newspapers or magazines. No one reads books.  No one goes to public events.  No one ever socializes or networks (unless it is on some Internet social media platform).  No one talks to their neighbors or fellow employees or friends (unless they are texting).  No one writes letters or sends post cards. No one plays sports, especially not on teams.

So the only way to reach people now is through the Internet.  And only online PR people have the backstage passes to get in there.

Unless there is some other alternative... Nah, don't let's be silly now.

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