Last week, I attended the Vocus users conference here in DC. It was an interesting time for me based on my history with PR both as a blogger who can’t stand PR and a blogger who wants to see PR do well in social media.
There was one session, in particular, where an audience member asked a speaker talking about software that is currently monitoring only main stream media outlets, “What do we do about monitoring and responding to bloggers?”
The response blew me away. “We don’t do anything about bloggers because we haven’t figured them out yet. Until we do, we won’t be doing anything about them.”
The context here being, of course, the software product.
Software developers understand that software is built on complex sets of logic. If this happens, then we do that. If a user clicks here, then this thing is going to happen. The speaker was saying that until bloggers could be broken down into a logical algorithm, the software won’t incorporate blogs.
My snarky response, expressed only in my own mind, is, “We’re human. If you can’t figure out how to approach us as humans instead of machines, maybe you should get out of the public relations business.”
On Friday, Chris Brogan wrote the same thing from the opposite side:
I have an anti-robot stance on Twitter. By that, I mean to say that I don’t want to follow things that aren’t people (with all due respect to Bruce Sterling’s spimes). I just don’t need to add something automated into a place that’s inherently human.
He goes on to say that his anti-robot stance is being challenged because someone who is using an automated posting system is actually offering something of use and now he has a crisis of conscience.
Folks, we’re unnecessarily complicating our lives. Sometimes a bit of common sense is needed to overrule our warped sense of logical rules. PR folks should look at blogger coverage, not in some automated way that has to fit into specific guidelines in order for them to know how to respond. And Chris needs to stop worrying about artificial rules he has created for himself. You made the rule, you can break it.
I have rules on Twitter too. I don’t follow sex-bots. I don’t follow spammy people. I don’t follow people that have disparate ratios of followers-followees. Except for the sexbot rule, I’ve broken every one if I needed to.
I’ve done the same thing with LinkedIn and Facebook.
Rules are made to be broken by sound human rationalization.