Monday poll: Should PR blogging be restricted to the best-of-the-best?

In a guest post on SVW, Bite’s Daniel Bernstein suggests that ‘Every starry-eyed PR professional that blogs believes, somewhere inside, that it can make them some kind of champion of business.’

In order to protect the good name of the industry and to ensure we present the right image, he thinks we should restrict the number of PR bloggers to the top echelons: ‘I believe blogging, as the delicate olive branch of PR, must be handled by the absolute best-of-the-best our industry offers. These are the Tim Dysons, the Richard Edelmans and the Andy Larks.’

Is he right? If we are to gain credibility at board-level should we make sure our forward-thinking champions are the principal voice they hear? Are there too many PR bloggers who open their mouths with nothing to say?

Or is the answer to show strength in depth? To encourage even junior and inexperienced professionals to blog and from that to learn? Should we be proud of the new talent coming through or encourage them to stay behind the scenes until they are ready to act as our ambassadors?

So should PR blogging be restricted to the best-of-the-best?

[For those reading this via a newsreader, there is an AJAX-based poll pasted below which may not appear in this post via RSS. Please vote on the site – thanks].

  • A definite no from me.

  • I think I need to qualify what I wrote as the entire movement of PR bloggers has decided to push my foot into my mouth this morning.
    What I’m arguing for is not fewer PR bloggers, not by a long shot. I am, however, arguing that blogging (as an application) is the official *moment* for the PR industry … something I’d imagine most of you can agree to. It’s out killer app. I’m arguing that because of it’s importance, it should be *handled* by a select few, much in the same way Linux is handled by a sort of meritocracy. I would hope this would be the controversial point, and not who should be blogging. The headline “Who shouldn’t blog in the PR industry?” was something Tom came up with.
    Anyways, I understand your concern over advocating for the continued openess of blogging. Everyone with something to say should be allowed to blog. I am concerned, though, that we are losing some of the best parts of the open source movement by not building some kind of governance into blogging. We’re losing standards and rules. We’re losing form. We’re losing the opportunity to adopt widespread opinions towards transparency, disclosure, etc.
    What I’m saying, blogging is of dire importance to our industry, it’s our opportunity to gain a seat at the table of the future of business. How can we avoid squandering it? How we can control ourselves to make sure our dreams for blogging come true?

  • Daniel – thanks for your comment and for taking the time to clarify your intent. I don’t actually think that blogging is PR’s ‘killer app’ – it’s a communications channel. A good one, but by no means a silver bullet. Just because a company has a blog doesn’t mean it reaches all its audiences.
    Nor do I really agree that blogging needs to be ‘handled’ by a self-appointed elite. Surely the meritocracy which this channel provides ensures self-regulation?
    If your blog has no value, you have no readers. If you make mistakes, readers and other bloggers will tell you.
    In fact, I don’t think there are ‘rules’ yet. I think you only learn this stuff by doing it. So why restrict it as a tool to a few brave souls who jumped in early? Why not let other PRs have a go? Sure we all make mistakes, but we also discover new approaches. Isn’t that the whole essence of what you are looking for – open source PR innovation? Isn’t that how we get to the goal of a better image for the industry?

  • You’re right, Morgan.
    Blogging will always be a messy business — as the discussion over Daniel’s piece among various blogs underscores.
    No point in trying to “clean up” something that can’t be … what will happen, will happen.
    What’s sad is that Daniel allies with people who want nothing but harm for the PR business, like Brian Connolly and Tom Foremski.

  • Hi Scott – yes the genie won’t go back in the bottle. There’s no harm in Daniel calling for or aspiring to higher standards, but I don’t think the best way to get there is to restrict blogging to those who already meet those standards. Hardly progress.
    To be fair to Tom, whom I know, he is not anti-PR. Far from it – in fact he spends a lot of his time educating PR types about this medium and exploring how it will pan out. Sure he takes a strong line sometimes, but as much to encourage debate (and traffic I guess) I think as anything else. I’ve always found him to be helpful, challenging and passionate. Sometimes he likes to kick over a hornet’s nest, but I don’t think that’s the same as anonymous sniping at peers and general gossip mongering a la Strumpette.

  • How did the ‘best of the best’ get there? By taking risks and putting themselves out there. I applaud them for taking the leap into blogging as they have much more to lose than those of us who are still in the first part of our careers It’s not only the ‘established’ leaders that can lead a trend, and all of the encouragement that we can throw behind younger PR pros, all the better.