One.

It the rest of them to talk about it.

Supposedly blogs might replace traditional media. Realistically, blogs and other forms of social media will compliment traditional media.

However, you’ve really got to question that in an Irish context when the thing which has irked Irish bloggers the most since the Dublin riots is the fact that one of them got a cease and desist letter from a crowd who objected to their use of the phrase ‘Web 2.0′. (If you haven’t heard, it@cork was issued with a cease and desist letter by CMP on behalf of O’Reilly Media for the use of the phrase ‘Web 2.0′ in the title of an upcoming conference)

It isn’t hard to think why some people hold blogs in such disdain given the fact that there’s all this chatter about the phrase ‘Web 2.0′, but in terms of some of the biggest stories which have been in the news recently such as the Afghan hunger strikers in St. Patricks Cathedral, Irish bloggers have been relatively silent.

So let me get this straight. Apparently blogs are going to have a ‘major impact’ on the next Irish general election? Why is that? Because our taoiseach Bertie Ahern isn’t saying the phrase ‘Web 2.0′ enough?

Maybe it’s because he got his cease and desist letter well before Tom Raftery!

On a slightly more serious note, why do companies persist in sending cease and desist letters to websites? They only get posted on websites and make the news.

This whole incident is a bit like the hype behind the Da Vinci Code. Who needs a PR consultancy when the catholic church will get you much better publicity?

EDIT/ Make sure to read my follow-up to this post which clarifies my thoughts following reader feedback.

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14 Responses to “How many (Irish) bloggers does it take to change a light bulb?”  

  1. 1 that girl

    Piaras – with respect to you, I think you’ve totally missed the point about blogs. You are approaching it from the perspective of the media and what “they” think blogging “should” be talking about – which is in effect an attempt to control blogging which makes me wonder why you are blogging at all. What else would bloggers do apart from talk/write about stuff?? Organise rallies in the streets? Last time I looked this was the entire purpose of blogging..starting conversations…viral marketing (you know all this stuff, you’re a marketing professional aren’t you?)…I would suggest that the modified demand from the O’Reilly legal people is a direct result of people “talking” about stuff. And just because I don’t understand the tech stuff isn’t relevant – if it works for this – it works for other stuff….What particular campaigns have you spearheaded recently?

  2. 2 Piaras

    I haven’t actually missed the point at all about blogs, I think I’ve pointed it out and we’ve reached the same conclusion as will be seen from a follow up post today.

    The whole point is that bloggers write about stuff, but if you attend any conference or listen to all the hype about blogging, the overwhelming opinion is that we are doing things like “organising rallies in the streets” and in fairness, when you read the majority of opinions about the coverage of the dublin riots on blogs and how our take was so much better than traditional media, it is valid to say that some people are getting caught up in the hype.

    As many people have already pointed out, it’s fascinating to watch as the whole O’Reily camp’s reputation has done a taildive thanks to a stupid cease and desist. Espeicially from a PR perspective.

    As Damien points out though, the whole reason why there was such upset amongst the irish blogging community was because of this ‘family’ feeling. Just as I posted congratulations on Tom’s blog about his child being born, I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculous situation he found himself in thanks to a silly legal letter.

    At the same time though if I look at blogs with my PR hat on from an Irish perspective, I don’t agree with a lot of my international colleagues that I should suddenly be engaging in conversation with every Irish blogger. I have a finite amount of time at my disposal and I have to decide which will get the best return on investment. In the majority of cases that’s going to be to engage in media relations.

    I’m an executive, so I’d hardly be spearheading any campaigns, but one of my clients will be in the papers pretty much daily so things seem to be working fine from my perspective.

  3. 3 Simon McGarr

    Piaras

    Is news solely what is in the papers? Is discussing what is in that news a measure of relevancy?

    I write about what interests me. I have some eccentric interests, I’ll admit, as anyone reading my dissection of the Annual Report of the Data Protection Commissioner will know. Or listening to me talking about a largely ignored painting in the national gallery. Neither topic is going to hit the front page. Or even page 17 of most papers. But the pleasure of reading blogs, and in particular Irish blogs I have to say, is seeing people writing about their stories and their interests.

    Auds, with whom I’ve barely agreed with on anything, is a better representative of her minority viewpoint than her mainstream counterpart Breda O’Brien. Suzy writes about generally ignored things in a funny, intelligent way that makes it enjoyable to share her experiences. Damien straddles lots of different strands and styles of blogging, while still reflecting his own personality. Fustar delves into important matters such as the explanation for the perplexing mystery of Count Curly Wee in the Irish Indo.

    If all the Irish blogs were compiled into a daily paper, its news agenda would be barely recognisable as sharing the same country as our traditional broadcast and print news. But that doesn’t mean that it is valueless or worthy of “disdain”. It just goes to show what anyone involved in a reported court case learns- that reality as it is experienced and the story of that experience as it is reported are rarely one and the same thing. Having sat through cases that turned on one vital moment and then read reports the next day that didn’t mention that moment at all, I know which I’m more inclined to rely on.

    PR has relied on media to reach aggregated audiences. Strictly speaking, most of it is a waste of money as the audience reached is mostly made up of people who don’t care. There was no way of separating out the targeted section of society from the rest of us.

    For example, yesterday’s newspapers carried pictures of a blond lady with a kitten on her shoulder and a puppy in her hand. The caption told us that it was National Spay Week. I own no pets, so I don’t care.

    But I do care about Tom’s travails- and the fact of his new baby- just as local radio gets its highest listernerships for the obituaries. These are important facts to the audience who knew, or knew of, the people involved. And, unlike most stories in the news, I can contribute something to the discussion- a bit of thought on what I’d do if a client of mine came to me with a letter like that. And maybe a little legal discussion on trade mark applications.

    The proof offered of blogging’s irrelevance is that it doesn’t discuss big news stories, but prefers navel gazing. In response I can only say this: the proof of blogging’s relevance to its audience is that we talk about the things that engage us personally- not the things we’re told ought to.

  4. 4 Piaras

    Simon, as I stated previously, I’ll follow up with another post shortly.

  5. 5 Piaras

    Just going back to your point about National Spay Week and Tom’s Baby. Some people would have a different opinion and care about National Spay Week and not about the fact that Tom’s wife is after having a child. The key point to remember is that we’re surrounded by information today and we have the power to ignore it if we choose. To say that the majority of people ignore photographs like the one in the paper yesterday is slightly ignorant. It caught my attention for the cute factor, even though I don’t own pets either and it raised awareness in my mind about the initiative.

  6. 6 Damien Mulley

    but if you attend any conference or listen to all the hype about blogging,

    What conferences would these be?

  7. 7 Piaras Kelly

    IIA, Les Blogs, and any marketing one.

  8. 8 Colm

    That’s weird. That last comment had Ed Byrne’s name on the last time I read it.

  9. 9 Damien Mulley

    Hmm, not just me then!

  10. 10 Piaras

    I entered the comment from Ed’s laptop, not realising that it would have his info stored in his cache. Edited it on mine later when I saw his name come up in my RSS.

  1. 1 Damien Mulley » Blog Archive » It was family we got riled up for, not the web 2.0 name
  2. 2 Tuppenceworth.ie blog » Not The Nine O’Clock News
  3. 3 Follow up to how many (Irish) bloggers does it take to change a light bulb? at Piaras Kelly PR - Irish Public Relations
  4. 4 Damien Mulley » Blog Archive » The emotional clashes with the empirical


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