obert Scoble doesn’t like PR or journalism.
Robert Scoble: A Citizen Journalist Contradiction
Wine Me & Dine Me (or, I’ll whine about bad PR)
Alice Marshall has a post about Robert Scoble’s recent audio blip heard round the block.
“Last Thursday’s edition of For Immediate Release contained a very troubling rant by Robert Scoble about the clueless PR pitches he has received. Scoble prefers to be pitched over dinner…” (Source) Listen for yourself. (The complete podcast is on ForImmediateRelease.biz.)
I think Alice is on to something here.
Update: George Snell notes, in comments on Alice’s blog, “Scoble should not be preaching to PR people about best practices considering that he just received thousands of dollars from Cisco to cover their news – giving Cisco full editorial control over his content. (Source) More info here.”
Robert, we PR people actually do have codes for best practice. I know you’ll be suprised to learn that most people actually pay attention to them. Remember now, Robert, your tech PR experiences aren’t necessarily representative of all PR practice.
Preserve the free flow of unprejudiced information when giving or receiving gifts by ensuring that gifts are nominal, legal, and infrequent.
Examples of Improper Conduct Under this Provision:
A member representing a ski manufacturer gives a pair of expensive racing skis to a sports magazine columnist, to influence the columnist to write favorable articles about the product.
A member entertains a government official beyond legal limits and/or in violation of government reporting requirements. (Source)
To recap, Robert Scoble wants PR to return to the wining & dining days that brought such an unsavory reputation to the practice, years ago. Well, not exactly. But, if you want Robert Scoble’s attention … oh yeah, baby!
Oh, Scoble tried to wiggle out in a comment, but Alice was having none of that. Hey, they were your words, Robert.
Is Robert Scoble becoming J.J. Hunsecker? May I paraphrase the the tagline, please…
They know him – and they shiver – the big names of technology, venture capital and (shudder) … blogs. They know Scobleizer – the world-famed columnist whose tech gossip is gospel to seventy-four thousand Twits, thirteen thousand FriendFeeders and who knows how many Facebookers! They know the venom that Flickrs in those eyes behind the glasses – and they fawn – like (insert a sheep’s name here), the kid who wanted “in” so much, he’d make a nice dinner to stand up there with Scobleizer, sucking in the sweet smell of success! This is Scobleizer’s story – but not the way he would have liked it told!
Strange thing is, Robert Scoble told the story himself. Hey, he made the audio recording and shared it.
Surely, every practitioner should know his/her audience. Scoble’s right about that. Build a relationship.
Christopher Locke, of Cluetrain Manifesto fame wrote a similar refrain (absent the “serve me dinner” option):
So instead of pitching the product, I started talking to journalists about stuff like that. I figured I’d just pretend to be working until I got fired for goofing off. But something amazing happened. As soon as I stopped strategizing how to “get ink” for the company that was paying my salary, as soon as I stopped seeing journalists as a source of free advertising for my employer, I started having genuine conversations with genuinely interesting people.
I’d call up editors and reporters without a thought in my head — no agenda, no objective — and we’d talk. We talked about manufacturing and how it evolved, about shop rats and managers, command and control. We talked about language and literature, about literacy. We talked about software too of course — what it could and couldn’t do. We talked about the foibles of the industry itself, laughed about empty buzzwords and pompous posturing, swapped war stories about trade shows and writing on deadline. We talked about our own work. But these conversations weren’t work. They were interesting and engaging. They were exciting. They were fun. I couldn’t wait to get back to work on Monday morning.
I imagine Scoble likes that point of view.
If you know that the only way to reach Robert Scoble is to invite him to dinner and court his friendship, then you have a chance to gain his attention. OK, but this dredges up some rather ugly images of media placement from years ago.
Let’s face it, Robert Scoble has expressed his disdain for PR many times. What’s so funny to me is that his area of interest, the technology scene – primarily in California, is such a small bubble in the broader world of PR practice. Don’t expect Scoble to acknowledge that, however. He’s perfectly happy to say “how PR is being practiced” rather than accepting that it is the smaller tech PR sector that is letting him down.
Yes, Scoble was an early adopter. Yes, he has had some great ideas and done some remarkable things. But, it is beginning to seem like he was really just getting a head start on building his fame. I can’t help but wonder if he’s becoming to technology what J.J. Hunsecker was to gossip. Wait, is what Scoble does simply tech product gossip? Oh, my god! Well, if he can get all chummy with you and get invited to your parties, maybe so.
Scoble has also expressed disdain for his own journalism degree. Not surprising, since those journalism classes likely emphasized not taking dinners for your attention (especially for coverage). Back in 2005, Scoble left a comment for one of my students, “I have a journalism degree. It isn’t worth that much, believe me. If you want to get paid there are a lot better things to do with your time in school.”
Robert Scoble, I think you’re on some rather shaky ground here.
I know I’ll be pounded by your loyal followers. I don’t mean it to sound bad, but this idea you have of schmoozing for your attention … well, it’s a bad practice. I hope you wake up before the credits roll.
All I would like to see is for Robert Scoble to, with regard to his PR rants, just once, stop staring at his own tree and look at the forest. Your walled garden has a gate, Robert. Walk out of it and see the entire PR world, please.