The CIPR member magazine Profile reaches me today. In his editorial director general Colin Farrington keeps up his ironic commentary on blogs. 'If there are any good blogs still around in six months I'll come back to it' he writes on page 8.
No need to wait so long. Page 10 is devoted to a 'blogging basics' feature by rising star Edelman executive Stephen Davies. And page 11 has an article by BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas, you guessed it, on blogging. 'Love them or hate them, blogs can no longer be ignored,' he concludes.
I've been blogging for five years; I don't think I've ever over-hyped the phenomenon. So what do I want Colin and other sceptics to consider? Two things:
- Blogging does no more and no less than helping to realise Tim Berners-Lee's original concept of the web as a universal information space which it's as easy to edit as to browse. (You judge whether that's important or not.)
- There's a difference in blogging about public relations (my lot in life), and blogging for public relations purposes (the theme of the Torin Douglas article). There's also another use for blogs in PR: as a way of listening to what people are saying about brands and companies, as Stephen discusses.
'What you say, what you do, and what others say about you' is a key phrase from the CIPR's definition of public relations. Certainly, blogging defines public relations even less well than media relations does; but it provides new channels and gives us access to more public voices. A practitioner who wilfully ignores channels and who refuses to listen to the public surely can't be a great adornment to our professional body. It may be good to talk; isn't it even better to listen?