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Social Media & Keeping the Conversation Going

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If you followed the Stowe Boyd kerfuffle a few months ago – the one in which he says, broadly, that PR people don’t “get it” regarding social media – you’ll be interested in listening to Stowe talking to Eric Schwartzman in the latest episode of the On The Record Online podcast.

You can listen and form your own opinion but let me say right now that he doesn’t convince me that the social media press release is a complete waste of time. Neither is he convincing that companies should stop doing press releases and instead use blogs (one of his consistent arguments).

Whether that’s something we might want to see organizations doing as a means of “developing genuine relationships” (whatever that means), the notion of simply dropping press releases and using blogs instead is patently absurd as it relates to the real business world today.

Here’s a topical example – the proposed take-over of ABN Amro Bank by Barclays Bank. Setting aside regulatory and related business issues, can you really imagine blogs somehow being the focal point of communication? The better question – would blogs be the most effective tool to achieve the communication goals?

I don’t think so in this case.

Yet that’s not to say blogs (and other social media including virtual communities like Second Life) shouldn’t have a role in something like a cross-border take-over as an integral part of overall communication. Internally, for example, enabling employees of each bank to complement the static FAQ that no doubt has been part of internal communication in both companies. Or providing a public forum for discussion. Maybe a place in Second Life, too (ABN Amro has a big presence there).

And neither is it to say that Stowe Boyd is wrong in all he says. On the contrary, he is great at stimulating out-of-the-box thinking concerning technology trends and public relations, among other things, forcing you to pay attention to the changes that are underway.

But my conclusion from listening to the 30-minute chat between Eric and Stowe is that I didn’t learn anything new. Still, it’s a worthwhile listen, one that continues to keep the conversation going.

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