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.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Mike Keliher

    The one thing Stowe wrote that REALLY made me think is this: How can PR pros who so readily scream for transparency and sincerity in the blogosphere and, at the same time, be so quick to make up quotes from CEOs for news releases they write every day?

    Surely there are PR pros who, unfortunately, don’t give a damn about transparency. And surely there are PR pros who have nothing but the strongest sense of transparency and always disclose everything and never make up quotes for their bosses. Lord knows I’ve written CEO quotes on my own, but I do feel strongly that we need disclosure, especially in what people call these new “social media.”

    But Stowe’s mental when he starts arguing against using the word “audiences.” Do we need to start calling our profession “people relations” because it’s wrong to communicate with groups of people referred to as “publics”?

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