Would Shakespeare have been a blogger? We can only speculate, but I suggest he’d have used his creativity to mould a new form of literature. You see: Colin’s criticism has spurred me to defend blogs as more than illiterate ravings.
Here are five thoughts I’ve had today, all inspired by things I’ve read electronically (on blogs, emails, websites).
- Blogs are a tool for accumulated learning (on the wisdom of crowds principle). I posted an article earlier in the week giving guidelines for PR student blogs and the many comments on this have added substantially to the modest value of my words. In addition, Alex Pullin has a case study proving the point: she was asked to review some books for The Guardian newspaper. They had identified her because of her blog.
- Trevor Cook has met Gough Whitlam, now approaching 90. This brought back long-distant memories of the political (and social) turbulence of the 1970s. Whitlam was dismissed controversially in 1975; British PM Harold Wilson resigned suddenly in 1976. Add in Watergate and you begin to gain a picture of some extraordinary times.
- I keep hearing echoes of my first years in public relations. I joined a consultancy called Aeberhard and Partners in 1989. This became A Plus Group (I then moved on), later still Brodeur A Plus, then Brodeur Worldwide. Now it’s known as Pleon. Andrew Smith occasionally keeps us informed of the network. To add some news, I recently had lunch with Gareth Thompson, a veteran of the Aeberhard and Partners days. He’s since built a consultancy (I later joined him there), sold it, gained an MBA and is now lecturing in marketing and PR at London Metropolitan University. So we’re (sort of) colleagues for the third time round.
- Women read more than men (according to publishers and booksellers); women predominate in public relations (overwhelmingly so in PR education). Yet PR blogging is still rather a male club. Is it a confidence thing (most men, I’ve noticed, think rather more highly of themselves than is merited; most women go the other way)? So I welcome these thoughtful, incisive, creative, funny and colourful voices from the majority (and hope to keep encouraging others to step forward): Aedhmar, Alice, Andrea, Ellee, Heather, Jenn, Kami, Karel.
- I love ideas (does that make me an intellectual?); I read lots of books as well as lots of blogs. I teach public relations. So why does the thought of a roomful of PR academics fill me with such dread? This is not meant as criticism of the admirable Philip Young, but as a piece of self-critical reflection (blogs, like diaries, are good for that too).
Note how blogs have history (and aid memory). Not everything you read is freshly baked today, but hyperlinks and searches aid time-shifting and free association.