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

Do journalists want a social media news release?

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 9, 2006

By Tom Foremski for Silicon Valley Watcher

[This is from my comments section - from Kevin Murphy US Editor at Computerwire on the subject of the Social Media Press Release which I described in a late night post called Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!

Kevin Murphy asks:

Two innocent questions:

1) Tom -- when was the last time you wrote anything what was based on a press release? 2003? You've moved far far beyond PR now, surely. How will these new types of press release make your job easier?

2) PR people -- are you consulting with working journalists/bloggers while developing these new social media releases? Which journalists/bloggers? What are they saying? What is it they need that regular press releases don't provide?

Kevin, as usual you pinpoint the crux of the matter.

You are asking the right question here, what do I know about press releases? I get pre-briefed all the time, there is usually no need for press releases!

However, the truth is that we all refer to them in the course of our research and background checking. One late night when I wanted to go to bed but I still had a bunch of stuff I needed to check, verify, and quote, I had to look up company news releases and they were useless in addressing my needs.

I realized that there was a  huge expense of human energy producing a product that was useless to me. Why not suggest a format that that could save me a click or three, hopefully much more.

Yes, this could be seen as a selfish project. But I know that if it makes me a little  bit more productive, you and others will be able to save a few clicks too.

Have I tried working with any of these social media releases? Have they been tested by journalists?

Yes, I've worked with a few, and they have saved me some time. And I know they'll get better at making my job easier.

I also have anecdotal evidence of journalists that have been motivated to provide positive feedback to PR people about receiving press releases in a social media-like format.

Knowing other journalists I have to say that such feedback is rare and therefore has to be treated as significant.

The Social Media News Release is an obvious step in the right direction, it is an obvious application of our Internet technologies. What hasn't been noted is that the Social Media News Release comes with so much more than the old press release.

For example: it's trackability across media and blogs and Internet locations is easy and extremely valuable.

 Another aspect of the the Social Media News Release is that it will continue to exist forever, cemented into the permalink archives of the Internet. It becomes a free floating publication in its own right with its own Google pagerank, and a Technorati following.

It could also be set up to collect comments for weeks or years, it's a live document. The collection of such information in such a manner is something that we never had a chance to consider before now.

We can go further, I have several ideas for new types of media entities I'd like to explore.

While lots of people talk about Web 2.0 and some have even tried to define Web 3.0  (blatantly obvious attempts to gain immortal Wikipedia juice, imho ;-)  surely,  we are barely at Internet 0.2?!

On the subject of the Internet,  I am of a Bachman-Turner Overdrive opinion.

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