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

Chicken or Rooster? Engaging in online debates . . .

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 25, 2007

Over the past couple of weeks I've written a few posts that were intended to remind the PR industry that significant changes are underway in their sector, a point of view that wasn't warmly received.

Wily E CoyoteMy recent post "Wiley E Coyote: Traditional PR is running on thin air" was part of a theme I've been writing about for a couple of years. It was intended to remind my PR contacts that we have disruptive technologies in our midst, and that disruptive technologies disrupt business models. Media is hurting their industry will too...

It was interesting how many people took this personally. I had to remind them that I did not call out their PR firms by name, nor did I invent the fact that disruption is happening in their industry (it really has nothing to do with me...)

But I've also been hearing from my PR contacts about the furious debates that my posts sparked internally, within their firms, and how useful they were. And I wondered why they didn't take those discussions online--it is a perfect opportunity to share and move things forward.

Some of my friends, who are bloggers in the PR community, were frustrated that their colleagues were too bashful to take their discussions online. And I can understand that frustration. Because as I popped into various Silicon Valley events over the past couple of weeks, there were many in the PR industry that engaged me in passionate debates. But it was all offline, they wouldn't go online. Which is a shame because they had some interesting things to say.

(En)Courage Online Debate

Every time I write a post I put my name behind it and I risk everything. Anyone can step up and engage and challenge me online or offline.

But there are too many people that will only engage me offline then shy away if I ask for an online debate.

I'm not asking from them anything that I wouldn't do myself, which is to state my point of view, and put my name behind it. It is an invitation to step up and share.

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