Without disagreement there is little learning

If there’s one thing Stowe Boyd has achieved through his robust posts during the past week concerning the concept of the social media press release, it’s that of helping focus the discussion.

What’s this about? you might ask. Here’s how I sum it up. According to Stowe, PR people don’t “get it” about social media, blogs in particular. They’re resistant to change (some are, to be sure), the press release is dead, and you don’t need press releases when you have a blog.

Better, though, to listen to FIR #208 last week to hear my podcasting partner Shel Holtz explain the background to the social media press release kerfuffle. Or listen to Shel, Tom Foremski and Chris Heuer in conversation in the latest New Media Release podcast, NMRCast #14, posted on Saturday.

Better still, read Shel’s calm and analytical commentary in which he addresses Stowe’s opinions so that you can form your own on the issue. Is Stowe right that, broadly, PR people don’t “get it”? Is Shel on the mark wth his views on what businesses need today rather than on what might evolve tomorrow?

I’m in broad agreement with Shel’s views not Stowe’s. And before anyone suggests it, this is not because I know Shel who I do know very well. I’ve met Stowe, too, just once (at the first Les Blogs conference in Paris back in April 2005) so I don’t really know him. I subscribe to his blog’s RSS feed, though, and have been doing so for a long time, so I think I know a bit about Stowe’s thinking on a wide range of issues, most of which interest me as well.

So while I’m nodding my head in agreement at some of the points Stowe makes in his acerbic style – especially how (some) PR people are resistant to change – I don’t really have enough sense of the whole Stowe Boyd to fully trust everything he says when he writes in personal-attack-and-dissect mode.

In any event, whatever opinion you form and perhaps post about on your blog, I think you’ll gain substantial value from reading all the posts including those by people who have linked to Stowe and Shel. Plus the many comments.

Many different opinions which, while certainly not adding up to 42 or anything like that, contribute to the richness of the overall discussion and so advance it.

One thing I’ve learned (for which I thank Stowe) is actually tangential to the core issue at the center of the squabble – a good-enough explanation of the intricacies of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Reg FD as it relates to financial communication.

Meanwhile, on with the conversation.

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.