Actually, there is no relationship between PRWeek — and writers who change lives. But I’ll touch on both topics in the next few paragraphs. What got me thinking about this during my run this morning were two things: the contest PRWeek is holding to recognize (I guess) the most popular/important PR blog and the death Sunday of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Here’s the blurb about the PRWeek contest:
As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, PRWeek is honoring one of the most important technological advancements in content distribution of the past 10 years: the blog. The celebration comes by way of a competition between 32 blogs selected by PRWeek staff and others in the industry. The tournament will take place over five weeks. To view all participants, including the current matchups, click here.
That’s neat. Some promotion for the A-list bloggers — and a way for PRWeek to reach potential readers throughout the blogosphere. We take ourselves way too seriously in public relations. So I hope this contest is a way to have some fun while giving a boost to those who take the time to write about public relations and other matters. I think sharing views and insights with each other is important, actually.
And I also think that the PRWeek contest could be an opportunity to look at the role of blogging in public relations — and its importance to journalism and communication in general. I started writing this blog with the idea that it was a way to share my views — and also to discuss topics with others. Gee. Dare I say it: a conversation. That hasn’t been the case here certainly. And I see very little of that on public relations blogs or others. Comments? Yeah. Some blogs generate more than others. But conversations. In some cases yes. For most, no. Maybe I don’t read enough of the A-list PR blogs.
Yet blogging is — IMO — basically another form of one-way communication. It gives a lot of people like me the opportunity to step up on the soapbox. But I don’t think it is really a conversation unless someone says something back to me — then me to them, on and on. That’s certainly the case on most newspaper blogs (read some on The New York Times, for example) or sites like The Huffington Post. A writer posts a story — and readers jump in with comments. But no conversation.
Here’s a link to segment on a recent “Root of all Evil” — where Lewis Black and others debated which is more evil: Ultimate Fighting or Blogging. The segment looks at what would have happened to the Declaration of Independence if it had contained a comments page. Go the the site and click on the link: Ultimate Fighters vs. Bloggers — Oswalt on Bloggers. It’s a hoot. Also true, unfortunately.
And then there is Solzhenitsyn. He changed lives. And he did it the old-fashioned way. With pen and paper. If you don’t read anything else today, or this week, read this article by Anne Applebaum in Slate: “How Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago Changed the World.”
OK. Let’s see — “As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, PRWeek is honoring one of the most important technological advancements in content distribution of the past 10 years: the blog.”
Technological advancement. Yes. Changing the world? Well, maybe one day. But you have to have something to say. And if we are selling blogging as being part of a conversation, then shouldn’t we, ah, talk?