PC Mag May Boycott Edelman PR

    April 20, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Transparency is a word that’s been kicked around a lot lately. But too much transparency is what got Edelman PR pro and blogebrity Steve Rubel kicked around this week, instead. An early Friday 13th comment about PC Magazine is fueling a potential boycott, as well as fulfilling what the PR world had feared about blogging.

Editor’s Note: Steve is a former blog partner of WebProNews. As such, we held off on this story for a couple of days to await comment. That comment hasn’t come, but we imagine it’s like asking a star running back how he feels about fumbling. Fair enough, right?

A week ago, at 5:44 a.m., Rubel posted on his Twitter page the following:

PC Mag is another. I have a free sub but it goes in the trash

It’s a short pair of sentences long on impact: short because Twitter is for stream-of-consciousness blogging with entries limited to 140 characters; impacting because Rubel is a big player at Edelman, a PR firm representing Microsoft, Palm, Mozilla, Adobe, among others that like PC Magazine’s 11 million subscribers.

That takes it well beyond an idle (public and permanent) statement to 1,600 Rubel Twitter-thought followers (isn’t interesting we live in a time where people can subscribe, basically, to your every thought as you type them? Is that narcissism, idol worship, boredom, or progress?).

CNet was the antecedent to "another," posted at 5:43 a.m., when Rubel asked if anybody still read them. CNet doesn’t appear to have been offended.

But PC Magazine Editor in Chief Jim Louderback was incensed at the remark, posting a long response on Strumpette.com (Strumpette boiled it down to "systemic Tourette’s.") Louderback, who promptly canceled Rubel’s free subscription, asked if an Edelman boycott would be overacting:

But then I started thinking about what this means for our relationship with Edelman. One of the company’s top execs had stated, in a public forum, that my magazine (and by extension, my audience) was useless to him. He wasn’t even interested in seeing whether we’d covered one of his clients. Did the rest of Edelman think like Steve? Were we no better than fishwrap to the entire company?

Rubel was quick to post an apology on his "Micro Persuasion" blog:

I learned a valuable lesson. Post too fast without providing context and it can elicit an unintended response. While the item is true, it does not reflect my full media consumption habits. I subscribe to PC Mag RSS feeds and have linked to several of your publication’s online articles over the three years I have been writing this blog. Further, I have linked to articles from eWeek, your sister site.

Rubel’s been light on the blog posting this week, and seems to have stopped Twittering altogether. His last post was dated and timed 8:40 p.m., April 18 (note to self: to solidify alibi, sign up for Twitter account), less than 24 hours after he posted his apology.

The length of time between Twitters is significant since Rubel has been a fairly constant Twitterer for some time.

Some other, now sadly ironic, Rubel Twitters in hours before the overreaction (yeah, overreaction, because everybody goofs up from time to time):

Someone told me they miss my feverish twittering. Damn work; damn you. :-) kidding. I love my gig. 06:28 PM April 11, 2007

Quote of the day: "Be excellent to each other." 05:58 AM April 12, 2007

Not trying to be a downer today, but read this. Execs wary on 2.0. http://tinyurl.com/22aeb5 08:19 PM April 16, 2007

How come no one’s talking about "The Secret?" It’s becoming one of the biggest viral memes of all time. It started as a web movie. 06:47 PM April 10, 2007

Okay, so the last one’s not really ironic, just wanted to say, "because it was better the first time when it was called The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale." A lot’s changed in fifty years, but some things haven’t.

Keep your head up, Steve, and remember Mr. Peale’s advice, as paraphrased in Amazon’s book description: Faith in yourself makes good things happen to you.