Networking notes

Back in San Francisco, so time to grab a few moments to fill you in on a few conversations I had while in the UK. We held a networking bash on Thursday attended by media, clients, politicians, and other industry types.

I’d forgotten the slight difference in approach to networking between the US and UK. Here in the States, networking is about meeting new people, swapping cards, making introductions and catching up with acquaintances. In the UK, it’s more about socially mixing with those that you already know and perhaps not ‘cool’ to talk shop. Undeterred, I pressed on with the intros and trying to find out what’s going on in media and technology across Europe.

So in no particular order:

  • UK tech pubs like Silicon.com and SC Magazine are familiar with RSS and most reporters have RSS readers. But they don’t use RSS to get news, just to keep up with industry events. Nor do they use blogs as sources of potential news or to locate spokespeople. When asked, the reporters I spoke to felt that the open nature of blogs meant there wasn’t any news value or scoop there, so they are not a useful source. Contrast that with US media, who I think do look at blog feeds for breaking stories and would approach an individual they originally found from a blog for a direct interview. In fact, I know this to be true since it’s happened to me more than once.
  • The concept of news release distribution via RSS was a revelation – but a good one. The reporters I spoke to liked the idea, though couldn’t name any agencies which did it. That tells me we need to promote our LEWIS Wire service more, but also that UK communicators in-house and at agencies need to evangelize their individual feeds too.
  • Blogging was not seen to present a threat to journalism, nor to be journalism by the tech reporters I spoke to. In fact, the whole debate we’ve had here had yet to register.
  • A reporter I spoke to from PRWEEK UK was unaware of any criticism of the recent technology league tables (which is a bit worrying). I asked what PRW UK was looking for from agencies at the moment – new wins and gossip. No change there then.
  • WiMAX isn’t a big media topic in France yet, unlike the US.
  • Companies and agencies in France aren’t targeting bloggers yet as part of their routine outreach – which surprises me given the reports of how France is leading European blogging.

I know these are just snippets from conversations I had. It could be that I misinterpreted what was said or that the reporters and clients I spoke to are not representative, but the differences struck me, so I thought I’d pass them on.

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