Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thanks to Lifehacker, Shift Comm exec feasts on crow

Trolling through my Google Reader this beautiful Sunday afternoon while trying to find inspiration for another work week where I pretty much worked all weekend, I came across an interesting social media-PR-related post. It's about blacklists and eating massive amounts of crow.

The PR Blacklist issue has been hot these days. Lifehacker blogger Gina Trapani put a hack from Shift Communications on her blacklist wiki. Basically, she's now banning the entire domain because of one person's actions.

As a result, Todd Defran of PR Squared (a shift communications exec and blogger though the blog is not a corporate blog) posted a long grovel to Gina.

I hope you’ll re-think your blanket condemnation of the thousands of employees who work at those firms listed in your wiki. Thanks to outcries like yours, the PR profession is becoming ever-more cognizant of the need for change, and it truly is changing.
I am really not sure how I feel about his approach. However, don't get me wrong, I do understand it. I understand the importance of trying to make amends with Gina and Lifehacker. However, why not just pick up the phone? Why risk more damage to the company's brand by airing the dirty laundry out for the public to see/read? If this social media thing is all about personal communications, this approach isn't personal. It's sorta like the shotgun approach we are all trying to avoid.

Tough call. Not sure what I'd do in this case (other than the fact that I'd be sure everyone that works for me or is on my team understands each bloggers' quirks, likes and dislikes BEFORE I pitch them as to avoid this situation all together). Then again, if you catch a blogger on a bad day, you might just get blacklisted for being cheery. As hacks, we are at the beck and call of the allmighty blogger.

Regardless, kudos to Todd for trying to make amends. It'll be interesting to see if Gina accepts the olive branch (maybe she has and I don't know yet).


TDefren said...

The problem with being the guy who tries to get in front of everything and lives his life in public is that I can get painted as the Poster Child for the issue.

For example in this case, Tripani "outed" dozens upon dozens of firms - many of which are far bigger than mine - but I was the only ________ to respond in public. (Fill in the blank however you want: "brave soul" or "a-hole.")

Further, it was subsequently revealed that the ubiquitous PR dbase, Cision, was to blame. Cision claims to offer a scrupulously-researched dbase of media contact info, which is supposedly scrubbed by, in part, asking the media contact how they prefer to be contacted. In Trapani's case, the system borked us all.

But the issueof your post is my public display of crow-eating, right? If I had to do it all over again, would I publicly apologize (and take the fall for my fellow blacklistees)?

Yes. Cuz you gotta take the bad with the good.

bigguyd said...

You're right, you stepped up. Most wouldn't have. Cision sucks. The landscape changes so much it's hard to keep in top of things unless you live and breath this stuff 24/7. Hopefully things will work itself out.

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