Tomorrow I’m heading in to a Collision Course between PR and marketing people and bloggers. I have the odd feeling that this will be the first time that some people in the PR world meet a real live blogger. Now some people thing that this is going to be a fight. Personally I think its going to be a repetition of common sense.

The event is being organised by Damien Mulley, a blogger turning in to game maker. After all, he’s giving away his marketing advice. All of it sensible, none of it shocking. Except for the shock of the “new”. It’s not rocket sience, its people.

You do know how to talk to people, right?

Sometimes I wonder. I’m interested in listening to the PR and marketing folk (know your enemy and all that). I’ve learned that badly done cold pitching is frequently badly done. E-mailing out all the information with a “oh, this is embargoed” tag at the end. Blindly following the “tags” in the contact database, rather than making their own in a targeted area (blame the list makers if you will).

PR and marketing is changing. Social media (and I’ll include blogging in this pile) is about conversation. Two way communication. Think about a journalist forming contacts in particular areas. A go-to gal on tech issues. An agony uncle on relationship issues. Making contacts who can help. Thats where PR is heading. Its going to be hard work, but bloggers aren’t scary most bloggers aren’t scary.

We will bite. But only when provoked.

take care,

Will Knott

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Right now, freezing at the keyboard in my geansai gorm, I should be making slides and a talk for Barcamp Cork II. The talk is a HCI look at Twitter and twitter applications and interfaces (but I’m enjoying the data mining of the survey too much). However I’ve noticed something from that data.

I’ve asked people why they use particular twitter applications and interfaces.  In the process of discovering that people don’t always answer the question you ask, I’ve collected a few stories about why they use twitter.

Some use twitter for marketing purposes. Social media monitoring either for themselves or for their clients.

Some use twitter, Jaiku or other micro-blogging tools for a quick response to questions.

But most people seem to use it to stay in contact with friends. With their Tribe.


Think about it. Are you a sports fan, or a fan of a particular team in a particular sport? No one is a fan of GAA but not a team, but they are a fan or their club and county (even when their club is in a different county).They can admire another team, but they are fanatics for their own. Their tribe.

A fairly lonely sport like cycling has a community? Cyclists look to each other. Sometimes look after each other on roads when they encounter each other. Even as strangers, as their bike identifies them as being of the same tribe. Help will be offered. Tips will be swapped. A spare tube will be ‘lent’.

Going to a Barcamp, an un-conference identifies you as being of a tribe. A technical minded, or technology loving tribe. A tribe identified by their laptops, mp3 recorders and gadgets. A tribe allied with web 2.0 and a love of problem solving. Help will be offered. Tips and urls will be swapped. A spare cable will be lent.

And then we have the Jaiku versus twitter debate. Almost everyone in Jaiku is bi-textual, but there are tribes, groups, clans etc. Everybody wants to belong, be part of something bigger. Be part of a grander scheme. And one which makes person to person contacts. Everyone wants to belong, even if its to a school clique.

The older, traditional tribes; church, local neighbourhoods and work are disintegrating. So new tribes are forming.

And once a tribe is identified, it will be marketed to. (Buy Burma Shave).


take care,
Will Knott

I still buy papers on a Sunday, but I don’t know why. It’s a habit. Get up, collect the news and… well. Don’t read them.

This isn’t me.


For the most part the papers get left. Shuffled around. Sections abandoned to the recycling bin. But unopened. Unloved.

I used to inhale the Sunday papers. I actually used read the all the sections in Sunday Times (admittedly skimming the sports and property pages) on the day of issue. I used to travel by public transport a lot. Now I drive. Now, I pick up The Observer (which gets decimated into sections to be looked at later (if at all)) and any with a “free” disc or book I’m interested in. In the vast majority of those cases, the “gift” is removed, and the “gift giver” goes in to the recycle bin. There are exceptions, which get added to the pile. There tends to be a large inhalation of ink from this pile once every three months (yet each horoscopes are all right for that week)

Even more depressingly, there is an associated unwatched or unlistened to collection of “gifts”.

So why admit this.

The web is my news. Blogs and podcasts and RSS feed me my news in xml sized chunks. Oddly enough, this includes large chunks of the papers I buy. Which means a distorted and time lapsed view of the world. I know more about UK and US politics due to podcasts, political cartoons and reflections than I do about the country I live in.

I used to rely on the Morning Ireland podcasts which began with the simple headlines and newspaper reviews. Used to. Now, the ‘casts go straight in to an interview. No quick catch up is left.

So the last remaining quick update of Irish news I have, is actually a qik update. Bernie Goldbach’s review of the technology sections of the Sunday Newspapers are something of a lifeline to me. However is there a 10 minute online view of the politics of this Island? Of the important news? Even a “this week” type catch up?

Citizen journalism in the Irish sphere of news is, by necessity of the 2 degrees of separation this island has, a rare thing. Even concentrated journalism would help.

Can you suggest any others places or resources?

take care,

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10 Jul 2007

Not the market we had in mind

Author: will | Filed under: overheard, social media

“Yes, there is a difference between virile and viral!”

Overheard telephone conversation. Didn’t get to find out which one was the right one.
I’m sure that the guys of “Inside PR” never covered that in their “Inside PRoper English” slot.

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