Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Microsoft's PR agency admits it doesn't "get" blogs!

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 31, 2006

My former boss at the Financial Times Paul Abrahams, heads up the sizeable UK office for Waggener Edstrom--Microsoft's long standing PR firm. Microsoft is WaggEd's largest client, and also it's largest cash cow, a very close relationship now well into its third decade.

Paul Abrahams works very closely with Microsoft and is in Seattle on a regular basis, advising the software giant on many strategic aspects of its operations. I haven't heard from Paul in a while, so it was a delightful surprise when he called me just an hour ago.

What he wanted to tell me was that he had written a column for the UK PR Week trade publication on blogging. "I've mentioned you in it," he said. "But I've basically said,  regarding all this stuff about blogs, I just don't get it..."

Fair enough, some do, some don't. However, I asked if it was a good move on his part to advertise such a a lack of understanding of blogs!?

After all, MSFT lost its top blogger Robert Scoble not too long ago, and there was much discussion about whether the software giant understood the value of Mr Scoble's incredible work in presenting the company in a favorable light.

Mr Scoble created many millions of dollars in positive publicity for Microsoft, on a salary of less than $100K. I don't think WaggEd could have done a fraction of that, for 100 times the payment Mr Scoble received.

Maybe WaggEd does understand the value of blogging and wants to shut it down before it cuts into its lucrative earnings from Microsoft?

Either way, I don't think that Paul Abrahams, head of Waggener Edstrom's large UK office, and also a senior member of its nine-strong Leadership team, should be seeking publicity from a journalist blogger (me) about how he doesn't get blogs!  And also broadcasting that fact to the entire PR industry, which is desperately trying to "get" blogs and setting up "New Media" practices by the boatload. I guess he knows what he's doing, he is a professional practitioner and in an elite position within the PR industry. But it still puzzles me...!

From PR Week (Subscription required.)

Blogs: Smokey and the Bandit Part 4?
Paul Abrahams - 31 Aug 2006

Is blogging the 21st-century equivalent of citizen band radio, the personal radio technology that became so popular in the late 1970s that it was included in a Coronation Street plotline and spawned a generation of bad Burt Reynolds 'Good Ol' Boy' movies?

Please also see related:

Microsoft's top blogger Robert Scoble is leaving....
Microsoft's ROI on Robert Scoble - the disruption of PR by blogging

Update: Please see comments....

Sean Garrett from the 463 writes:

Abrahams should be free to expouse his learned opinion (and I don't completely disagree with all of it), but more ironic is that at the guy who runs the global Microsoft business for WaggEd (Frank Shaw) has a good blog of his own called Glass House.

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