Internet Shadows are for the Weak

It’s no secret that the Internet has proven to be a wonderfully powerful medium to engage key audiences and stimulate debate.  For public relations professionals, the movement of readers to social media outlets – such as blogs, wikis, communities, microblogs, etc. – has opened up new channels to promote high-quality content and thought leadership.

Transparency must serve as the foundation of Internet-based communications.  We have to demand it.  That’s because the lack of a formal peer review process in social media creates an environment in which rumor, innuendo and intimidation can easily gain the upper hand.

I find it disconcerting when a professional has to hide in the shadows when voicing an opinion on a topic.  It just happened with an in-house attorney at Cisco who came clean about his authorship of a blog about patent trolling only when his identity was discovered.

Cisco Sued Because of Employee Blogging

http://gigaom.com/2008/03/24/cisco-sued-because-of-employee-blogging/

It’s occurring with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists with two Web sites that allow them to trash each other in anonymity.  Aren’t they in the business of building innovation, wealth and value together? 

http://www.thefunded.com/

http://www.theunfunded.com/

If you have something to say in the blogosphere, on a message board or in a social network...then do it with a strong, well articulated position.  Make yourself known.  Encourage debate.  And blackball those who fail to live up to that standard.

 Hiding in the shadows is for the weak.

 

Marc Hausman is president/CEO of Strategic Communications Group, a public relations consultancy based in Silver Spring, MD.  Read more at: http://www.strategicguy.blogspot.com/.

   

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4 Comments

  • Mark Zorro

    oops, I meant to say "internal dialogue", not "interactive dialogue" as is written earlier.....M.

  • Mark Zorro

    Marc, if that is the predominant view of PR world then I thoroughly welcome your remarks and it is exactly what I hope to hear. So I highly impressed with your response. I do not see this is as an agree vs disagree issue - because this is not an opinion piece, it is literally "thinking out aloud" - but my process is about thinking about my own thinking. In the blog I initially tried out here I called it a womblog - but generally I call it a DLOG. A DLOG does not mean "Death Blog" :-) the meaning I give to it is "interactive dialogue". Prayer IMHO is a form of "interactive dialogue". I like using the term DLOG because it spells GOLD backwards and process is about digging for that gold, rather than examining the ore. BTW I too believe that one must have their name behind whatever one writes online. So whether this is written as Mark Zorro or Syven matters not one iota to me. What matters to me is seeing open minded thinkers such as yourself who can go beyond the rhetoric and think for themselves. Thankyou Marc for your intelligent and thoughtful response, I genuinely appreciate it. All the same I am taking my process offline, but I do wish there were more people like you out there. I did say above that I had "lost hope" and that is a really GOOD thing, because Krishnamurti suggested that hope is an illusion, check out his compilation of ideas in the book "Total Freedom"....M.

  • Marc Hausman

    @Mark -- thanks for taking the time to share your extensive views on this topic. I guess we'll agree to disagree.

    Also, please don't view Edward Bernays' views of PR as consistent with the beliefs of the high-quality professionals who comprise our industry. Yes...there are those who seek to use PR as a tool to manipulate and spin. That's the minority though. Most PR professionals are committed to education and engagement with key audiences.

  • Mark Zorro

    Marc I have personally failed your particular standard of transparency and so please treat my words here as a flow ghost. I am dumb and weak enough to understand Edward Bernays and I am not here to say that the internet has become one gigantic PR ball or any other such lame observation of what should be healthy minded individual investigation and exploration of personal environment. PR is a public mirror and yet what I am looking for is a window. Today I am as transparent as a swirling dervish, for I have been spun again and again, more times than I care to remember, and this merry-go-round has been absolutely fueled by the PR industry, an industry that is getting closer to 100 years old. So Marc, it is 6am where I am right now, and I happen to agree with you. I have already acquiesced that people like me should not explore our own given environment using disgusting things like pseudonyms or even more vile things such as "creative license". We should not question our own given environment, when, it seems, the only permissible way to use the internet is as a professional loudspeaker, not as an extension of ones own mind. I guess that the idea virus is then as real as Richard Dawkins once said it was, for even we if lose one religion, we will soon create another. So I do understand that today, the principle legitimate use of the internet is to market yourself to others, or to sell yourself, so that transparency is viewed through the lens of PR. Then and only then can the human brain be maximized it's money making potential or, at least, as Guy Debord once said before he got so fed up with media and fatally shot himself, a "spectacle". We must assume that all our defacto messages are to the outside world, and that those like me who say they "think out aloud" and "explore online" and who want to figure this out by themselves; to probe the world just like Marshall McLuhan had suggested that we should do, are simply weak mind morons who should display themselves like verbal meat or recognize that we are the unintelligent of saplings that failed to appreciate the full flavour of the PR juice machine. I personally don't want to earn a silver anvil prize or need to explain to the rest of the society what "my message is". This is the 21st Century, and I recall the very moment that it had begun, that I was thinking through equally immature thoughts, long before anyone in the PR industry figured out what a blog was; but I have also learned since that moment, that PR advantage always trumps first-mover advantage. So Marc, you are right, I am wrong, you have won yet again and how gloriously strong you must feel in this 20th Century inspired victory (for how can one ever lose with the muscle of PR behind them); but I, a simpleton, have lost much in the way of hope in the last few days - if there was a final twist of the knife into what I thought was most valuable thing about the 21st Century, your comments finished the job. Kevin, thought me harsh when I wrote the words "society of thieves" as a part of my own exploration. I thought him harsh for taking a mechanical needle and extracting from the biology of my "own thoughts" into a specimen vial that contained those very same words, to hung displayed as this imaginary construct called an "opinion". How long do we keep looking at the part and keep missing the whole? Why do I want to encourage debate when everybody is talking, talking, talking. How much debate do you seek to create in this cacophony of human megaphonic noise? So, now I guess I should really be walking hand in hand with the nearest PR industry representative I can find, to create this new visual society for the ubermensch, for G-d forbid that to do anything otherwise, would be considered so reckless and weak, or at least so weak to think things out while they are fresh in my own mind, so we can begin to personally meditate on all that we have said ourselves or even all that personally we may have done, yet at least, I know that the world did not begin with internet and it will not end with the internet, for IMHO it was Jiddu Krishnamurti who really understood the word "hope" and now this is all I wish to share, and then Marc be happy that you made a world a better place by silencing those who, like me, did not want to make commerce out of their human voice, and that is why I agree most with you and so during this very week I have decided to blackball myself.....M.