A lesson in PR and social media from Ben Goldacre (a journalist)

I have not shown a tendency to be charitable to journalists in many of my previous posts – because so few really understand what is going on with social media.  But here is an exception, from the blog of Ben Goldacre of The Guardian, reflecting on how social media changes PR.  It is spot on.

With the internet, page space is infinite, and people will post any old nonsense on the grounds that it might be interesting to someone somewhere (and I’m very glad of it). There are bloggers, of course, who will get inexplicably fascinated by a single issue, and follow-up every development, no matter how obscure. But there are also random passers-by, who might use Google to double check your utterances on Twitter, in 10 seconds, while they wait for the kettle to boil, just out of interest. Then they might post the results, with a single keystroke, on Twitter, in a blog comment, just because it adds a little to the story, and someone else might find that, and build on it, and so on. I’m rambling, but I do think it’s interesting how the web makes the environment very different for everyone in PR who hopes that vagueness and disinterest will smooth over their rougher edges.

The power of nonsense (or as I prefer to call it, information of very niche interest).  Trust that is grounded in process  – not institutionalised assertions.  The ability to publish no longer a scarce resource – and therefore liberated from the grip of institutionalised control.  It is all in that quote, even if Goldacre himself may not quite realise it.

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