I probably definitely should… ah sod it.

Over the past year or so I’ve noticed that people have tended to react to me as a social media type in one of two distinct ways.

One is the school of thought which thinks that, because I run a blog and have worked in social media, they know nothing about it and I know everything. This is not true. They probably do know something, and I definitely don’t know everything.

The other is of the belief that, because they have pet tools or techniques that they like to use, and which I might not know about, this means I’m at fault because I didn’t know about them. The truth is usually that I do know of other tools, just not those particular tools. In other words, they definitely know something about social media, but I probably know more than them.

The unfortunate corollary (love that word) is:

“I don’t know everything, but I know more than you.”

This is understandably a bit pointed, and while it’s most likely true, no one really likes to hear it. I know, because I’ve said it, to decidedly black looks. Let’s temper it a little:

“I don’t know everything, but I probably know more than you.”

This repositions the statement, allowing for the possibility that you’re more of an oddball than me.

The problem still lies however in that it’s a bit negative, on the behalf of both subject (me) and object (you). It’s the social media equivalent of the dreadful ‘Back to Basics’ line of the Conservatives circa mid-1990. Here’s an attempt at a more positive spin:

“You probably know more than you realise, and I’d like to know more about it.”

This places emphasis on you – that is, it’s not quite as egotistical/neurotic on my behalf, and implies some sort of process of learning. It definitely doesn’t mean that I probably do know more than you, and it probably means that you definitely might know something, while implicitly acknowledging that I definitely don’t know everything and you possibly know less than me. It also echoes Barack Obama’s sentiment of wanting to listen, and I’d choose Obama over Major any day (or even Sir Humphrey).

It’s also infuriatingly close to something a psychotherapist might say while leaning forward unnecessarily close so you can see his (or her) nasal hair.

However, there is another way. You can sit still, listen to that little voice deep within you, that wisdom that seems to come to you from the movements of the planets around you and the race memory of ages gone by, and, as I did, come up with the alternative:

“Sod this, I’m going to be a copywriter instead.”

This is what is known as the Cooper Shimmy and if you find working in social media starts to mess with your mind, you might want to consider something similar. But not copywriting, obviously, because the fewer competitors I have the better.

And if you want to tweet that, tweet this:
Brendan Cooper on what he probably definitely does, and does not, know. Probably. http://bit.ly/uWbjh

The PR Friendly Index for March 2009

It’s been a very, very, very long time since I last did this. Index below, explanations below that, and I’ve moved the FAQ to the PR Friendly Index page.

 

KEY
Technorati Authority – unique incoming blog links over the past six months
Technorati Inlinks – total incoming blog links over the past six months
Yahoo Inlinks – incoming web links, not including links within that site
HowSociable Score – social media score calculated by HowSociable.com
Google Blog Hits – Google blog search hits
Google Blog Hits over the past Month – Google blog search hits over the past month
IceRocket – recent posts that link to a site according to IceRocket

1   1  Online Marketing Blog 1,456  
12,082  
84  
1,676  

2   -1  Micro Persuasion 1,386  
26,495  
68  
1,652  

3   0  PR 2.0 Silicon Valley 985  
6,935  
22  
1,331  

4   0  PR Watch 382  
5,030  
52  
332  

5   0  PR Squared 511  
3,023  
13  
548  

6   0  a shel of my former self 286  
3,694  
15  
332  

7   3  Web Ink Now 683  
3,200  
10  
874  

8   -1  NevilleHobson.com 347  
3,368  
11  
408  

9   4  The Bad Pitch Blog 210  
1,197  
11  
179  

10   2  PR Blogger 204  
1,100  
12  
197  

11   -3  The Buzz Bin 140  
1,566  
11  
119  

13   -2  Pop! PR Jots 120  
1,614  
9  
90  

13   6  A PR Guy’s Musings 117  
375  
13  
91  

14   -5  Communication Overtones 142  
2,045  
4  
183  

15   2  Strategic Public Relations 90  
1,157  
26  
56  

17   14  Wadds’ tech pr blog 123  
340  
9  
147  

17   -3  Fleet Street PR 268  
377  
2  
334  

18   4  Young PR 96  
368  
7  
84  

19   -1  Spinwatch 83  
354  
11  
61  

20   3  CustomScoop’s PR Blog Jots 121  
367  
2  
177  

21   New  sixtysecondview 87  
357  
6  
70  

22   -7  Media Orchard 101  
1,594  
3  
65  

23   9  Todd Andrlik 208  
341  
1  
221  

24   18  Drew B’s take on tech PR 79  
338  
8  
54  

25   9  Paul Gillin – Social Media 146  
350  
1  
155  

26   2  Brendan Cooper 144  
184  
5  
55  

27   New  Feverbee 87  
157  
6  
110  

28   11  Occam’s RazR 61  
290  
6  
70  

29   -9  Pro PR 103  
356  
1  
129  

31   -7  PR Newser 139  
167  
2  
168  

31   4  The Flack 72  
337  
4  
56  

33   -8  Murphy’s Law 88  
305  
3  
58  

33   -7  Peter Shankman 403  
132  
1  
424  

35   38  PR Media Blog 81  
115  
7  
76  

35   -8  PR Works 78  
367  
1  
105  

36   10  Cooler Insights 71  
307  
3  
71  

39   17  Blogging Me, Blogging You 55  
356  
5  
40  

39   3  Heather Yaxley 57  
278  
15  
31  

39   5  PR Conversations 59  
229  
7  
50  

40   7  PR Studies 59  
265  
7  
41  

41   -20  PR Communications 50  
316  
3  
69  

42   -12  Flack Life 82  
355  
0  
151  

43   -7  KDPaine’s PR Measurement 56  
241  
4  
51  

44   6  Piaras Kelly PR 49  
205  
5  
50  

45   -12  ToughSledding 46  
256  
5  
43  

46   12  Corporate PR 39  
359  
5  
19  

47   -18  Strumpette 50  
1,188  
1  
48  

48   -32  Canuckflack 63  
354  
1  
45  

49   -6  Getting Ink 58  
238  
3  
43  

50   3  PR Meets the WWW 42  
359  
4  
18  

51   -2  Socialized PR 51  
153  
2  
72  

52   -7  Beyond PR 39  
205  
5  
28  

53   10  Observations of PR 90  
193  
3  
12  

54   -17  Common Sense PR 65  
332  
0  
51  

56   New  Sir Robert Bond Papers 39  
303  
1  
54  

56   5  The New PR 43  
247  
1  
54  

57   2  Engage in PR 59  
194  
0  
78  

58   6  PR Disasters 56  
132  
3  
32  

59   -21  Wired PR Works 39  
169  
2  
45  

60   -6  bitemarks 38  
178  
4  
30  

61   -4  In Front of Your Nose 44  
99  
5  
22  

62   -11  Simonsays 41  
311  
2  
17  

64   1  The Rosemont Loving 39  
84  
5  
24  

64   New  Teaching PR 34  
88  
5  
36  

65   -4  PR Meets Marketing 36  
182  
2  
34  

66   -4  From PR to Eternity 35  
90  
4  
37  

67   -25  Naked PR 40  
162  
2  
24  

68   1  my(PR)palette 18  
170  
2  
43  

69   -3  All Things PR 32  
77  
4  
23  

71   19  PR 2.0 26  
90  
5  
9  

71   -19  Valley PR Blog 26  
145  
1  
37  

72   -23  Tech PR Gems 20  
73  
2  
24  

73   -6  The New Marketing 13  
142  
2  
17  

74   7  Media Guerrilla 29  
80  
1  
26  

75   1  Beyond the Hype 26  
48  
2  
18  

76   8  PR-otagonism 21  
47  
3  
15  

77   -5  Priscilla’s World 43  
46  
2  
4  

78   -23  IndiaPRBlog! 24  
81  
1  
18  

79   -9  The PR 2.0 Universe 21  
95  
1  
12  

82   -7  Glass House 37  
69  
1  
10  

82   4  PR Voice 13  
86  
2  
5  

82   1  PR Girlz 14  
97  
1  
13  

83   13  DummySpit 15  
54  
2  
10  

84   -15  Teaching PR 14  
155  
1  
4  

85   -11  Don’t eat the shrimp 61  
31  
0  
12  

86   New  Ron Torossian 16  
39  
1  
21  

87   New  Paul Stallard 14  
25  
2  
12  

89   -12  Alan Weinkrantz PR 12  
108  
0  
20  

89   6  GREENblog 6  
62  
2  
4  

90   New  balancing act 5  
53  
1  
18  

91   -13  media mindshare 16  
53  
1  
4  

92   -10  Fusion PR Forum 5  
69  
1  
11  

93   4  First Person PR 2  
35  
2  
1  

95   -15  Flacks Revenge 10  
45  
0  
18  

95   -24  Strive Notes 4  
115  
0  
5  

96   -4  Public Relations Rogue 7  
38  
1  
1  

97   -3  Small Business PR/Marketing 4  
20  
1  
2  

98   -18  Point oh 13  
4  
0  
6  

99   New  Final Spin 5  
5  
0  
1  

100   -11  nerd-in-residence 3  
31  
0  
1  

The tech stuff

So as I said, it’s been a while. This is mainly because I’ve moved house, moved jobs, and changed PCs. The first two were substantially hiatus-inducing. The last of these would not, you’d imagine, cause much of a problem but I’ve been struggling to come to terms with Vista for the past month and it proved a formidable obstacle in compiling the stats this time around. Excel just ran terribly slowly, to the extent that if I tried to type a new number into a cell it would take nearly ten seconds before I could continue. This was unworkable.

Fortunately the Cloud came to my rescue. I’ve ranted a bit about cloud computing’s drawbacks in the past, but as a last-gasp attempt to get this to work, it proved a viable solution. I imported the worksheet into Google Docs and suddenly everything was responsive. With some workarounds – limitations to the amount I could copy and paste between sheets, for example – I could actually work properly.

Now, I do not understand why it should be that I can run an app over the web much more quickly than I can locally. I can only assume it’s because the web and associated apps are fairly stable platforms that can be incremented in small bits, rather than wholesale changes hardware, software and operating environments. Plus I get the resources of, well, the web at my disposal, so nearly infinite computing capacity. But it still bothers me that an older version of Excel, on an older operating system, running on a crappy PC with 750MB of memory, should radically outperform something that should be several quanta ahead in terms of performance.

Still, the Google Docs workaround is not ideal. For example, while I’m typing this I’m occasionally having to jump into the spreadsheet to get it to publish properly because I cannot seem to copy all the data from the worksheet into WordPress in one go. I can only copy it reliably when I publish it as text. But the publishing feature doesn’t work every time. And when I do eventually get the code into WordPress, it mucks around with it in a seemingly random way. There are just so many obstacles that you have to avoid in the publication of this index. Bum.

Another drawback this time around was that the Google Docs calls proved unreliable. Icerocket and Google Blog Month searches were very ‘bitty’, and I had to manually go through quite a lot of the results. Google and Yahoo no longer play ball with the Import features in Google Docs, so they had to go (part of the criteria for whether to include a metric are that they can be readily pulled out of search results). Even Technorati figures, using their API, needed quite a lot of polishing. This why Technorati Inlinks also had to go: there is no alternative that I know of available, that I can view online, to substitute for missing figures.

I don’t know whether this was just ‘one of those things’, or whether results are being deliberately marred by the search engines involved. Or maybe Google Docs Import features aren’t doing their jobs as well as before?

I also realised that, in the PC changeover, I’d lost my copy of the Easybee software so I couldn’t grab figures for HowSociable. I pinged the author and got the software back but decided I just couldn’t face building up all the calls to grab the data again. It takes quite a while, plus it’s contrary to the concept of grabbing data quickly and easily. Plus screen scraping is naughty.

Notwithstanding, I also explored the possibility of using the Yahoo Pipes Fetch Page module to grab data from HowSociable, Google and socialmention. This didn’t work satisfactorily either, mainly because pages take a while to render so the timing goes wrong in that Yahoo Pipes tries to grab a page before it’s been rendered properly. And, in the case of Google, it didn’t want to play with Yahoo Pipes. Playground sulks abound.

So, the number of metrics has lessened this time around. We’re just doing Technorati Authority, Google Blog Search, Google Blog Search for the month, and IceRocket, because Yahoo and Google don’t wanna play any more, and HowSociable is a pain in the arse.

The Inny/outty/uppy/downy stuff

There are some big risers and fallers. This is partially down to the number of new entries but even so, Tech PR Gems has plummeted while PR Media blog has shot up. I guess this is down to the length of time since I last published this index. Sorry about that.

For me the most interesting and surprising result was that Steve Rubel’s Micropersuasion no longer tops the table. I wonder whether it’s because Steve’s running an individual blog, whereas Online Marketing is a group effort so it can more readily maintain its position through more posts, or a supporting awareness programme. Perhaps I need to dig out the Technorati Authority study again to see whether this is down to Steve declining, or Online Marketing Blog rising, or a combination of the two.

There have been moves:

There are new entries:

Who inevitably replace old entries:

  • The last man in europe last posted in January 2008 so to all intents doesn’t really exist any more
  • Note to editors was still an ‘active’ blog but just didn’t make the cut, unfortunately
  • Media artifacts has been deleted
  • Wordymouth has also disappeared off the face of the blogosphere
  • Change and internal comms probably didn’t belong here in the first place
  • Corporati hadn’t posted since last July
  • Tech PR War Stories also hasn’t been terribly active

The Study stuff

After the recent Twitter PR Week episode, I had to think long and hard about whether I wanted to compile this index. Possibly the reason for the brouhaha was that people could have been clearer about what they were trying to achieve, and the assumptions behind the study.

So, for the sake of clarity, what I’m trying to achieve here is an ongoing, developing investigation into how to measure blogs, what can be measured, and to engage in debate about the benefits and drawbacks to each method. Look, robot, I’ve even put another poll together if you want to tell everyone what you think with just one click. (And actually, while you’re at it, it would be luverly if you could also vote in my other poll.)

As I say in the PR Friendly FAQ, and as I’ve always said, this is quantitative, not qualitative. I would only ever use it as a first step in measuring any blogger population. For the qualitative stuff, I’d refer you to the ‘What are we talking about’ study, which I also intend to revisit. But, of course, the best way to know what any blogger is talking about is to read the blog.

As for what’s behind the study, well the list is purely the blogs that I tend to read. It’s changed over the months, through discovery of my own or recommendation from other people. So, while I think it’s a good list, it’s not necessarily the only one, or even the best. It’s mine.

Basically, if you’re reading this and you’re about to tell everyone how ridiculous this index is, or flame me, or kick the cat, then for everyone’s sakes please read the PR Friendly FAQ first. If you still want to kick off, by all means do. And you can also vote in the poll this time too.

The Not Study stuff

Another increasing difficulty has been categorisation. While there’s debate about what exactly constitutes a blog, there’s also the difficulty of what constitutes a PR blog. People who once wrote about PR now write more about social media – me included, leading me to wonder whether I should even appear in this index myself! Other people who write about social media also touch on PR, and this is a trend I see continuing. So should I set up a separate social media index? Should I mix the two up?

I’ve also wondered about whether I should be looking at more cross-platform metrics, that is, should I be including Twitter stats here? Given the recent Twittermania, maybe I should. Bloggers are probably more influential when they’re on Twitter too. Then we’re in the tricky territory of what we’re measuring, whether it’s the blogger, or the blog. The answer should, I think, be the blogger – but then search terms become a problem. URLs are unique, whereas names are not. It’s much easier to search for a blog address than a blogger’s name.

And finally…

One the main reasons I haven’t updated the index in a while is that it’s such a pain in the arse. Every time I think I’ve got the method nailed, the next month things have moved around or changed so I have to find ways around them. It could be that search engines have changed their layouts, or blogs have moved. New blogs come in, old blogs fade away. Any change just takes so much time to accommodate. Plus, I find I’m adding more and more explanation to the end of this, which isn’t a good sign.

So what to do? Reduce the metrics, given that Technorati Authority pretty much governs the rankings? Or reduce the number of blogs in the index? Or just give up?

Let me know. You can vote in the poll, and/or comment. But be gentle.

&nbsp

Hello Communications Director!

About a month ago I was contacted for some details about this blog because it might feature in Communications Director.

And today – it’s in! Thanks to an eagle-eyed client spotting it this morning and scanning it for me.

I don’t think you can access it online but if anyone can point me in the right direction to get a link, that would be great.

Meanwhile you can see Communications Director’s contents online and while they do mention the word ‘cooper’, it’s in the context of ‘cooperation’. Perhaps I should adopt that as my own personal active verb? If Scoble ‘izes’, then perhaps I can ‘ate’. Maybe I am the Cooperator to his Scobleizer.

Who’d have thought it, eh? Cripes.

And I think I should also take the opportunity to say that Feedburner is up the duff again. Last night my subscriptions were well over 300, so either I’ve said something sufficiently offensive to cause a third of my subscribers to abandon me, or Feedburner’s gone bad. Given past Feedburner issues, I’d say the latter. Problem is, the Feedburner blog seems to have ground to a halt in May and I can’t find their online status anywhere. So, any pointers in that direction would be really useful too. Not that I can do anything about it…

Over the past six PR Friendly Indexes: mostly declining

Now I’ve published a number of editions of the PR Friendly Index it strikes me that I have enough data to look at changes over this period.

So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the metric that seems most accurately to determine position in the index – Technorati Authority – and see how the blogs in the index have fared recently.

I’ve looked at the blogs which have been in the index since its inception (and since I got the spreadsheets properly sorted), and which have remained at the same URL throughout, so that a fair picture can be drawn – quite literally.

The charts use the funky Google Chart API which I’ve used before but might use for future PR Friendly Indexes. They are independently scaled – so a blog with maximum authority of 100 can be drawn in the same space as one with 1000 – and show the absolute change. Blogs are ranked according to percentage change from the first score in November 2007 to the latest in August 2008, and this is what the figures in brackets show.

As with the PR Friendly Index, take a look at the data below first, then I’ll add more description below that (please note that sometimes the Google API flakes out and the charts don’t appear – I don’t think Google are a particularly happy set of bunnies right now):


1  Wired PR Works (654%)

2  my(PR)palette (271%)

3  All Things PR (271%)

4  Small Business PR and Marketing (250%)

5  Valley PR Blog (212%)

6  Getting Ink (166%)

7  wordymouth (88%)

8  Wadds’ tech pr blog (88%)

9  PR Squared (81%)

10  PR 2.0 Silicon Valley (77%)

11  Web Ink Now (52%)

12  PR Communications (47%)

13  Naked PR (38%)

14  Corporati (33%)

15  PR Girlz (22%)

16  IndiaPRBlog! (21%)

17  ToughSledding (3%)

18  Beyond PR (2%)

19  Teaching PR (2%)

20  PR Disasters (2%)

21  The Bad Pitch Blog (1%)

22  PR Voice (0%)

23  Piaras Kelly PR (-3%)

24  PR Conversations (-4%)

25  PR Studies (-7%)

26  media mindshare (-8%)

27  PR 2.0 (-10%)

28  The New PR (-10%)

29  PR Blogger (-11%)

30  Drew B’s take on tech PR (-13%)

31  Center for Media and Democracy (-15%)

32  Spinwatch (-16%)

33  Tech PR Gems (-17%)

34  bitemarks (-18%)

35  Young PR (-18%)

36  a shel of my former self (-19%)

37  A PR Guy’s Musings (-19%)

38  Strategic Public Relations (-19%)

39  Priscilla’s World (-20%)

40  KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog (-25%)

41  Engage in PR (-25%)

42  Tech PR War Stories (-26%)

43  The Rosemont Loving (-27%)

44  Communication Overtones (-28%)

45  Pro PR (-29%)

46  PR Works (-29%)

47  Pop! PR Jots (-29%)

48  NevilleHobson.com (-30%)

49  Public Relations Rogue (-30%)

50  Common Sense PR (-34%)

51  Online Marketing Blog (-37%)

52  DummySpit (-40%)

53  The PR 2.0 Universe (-42%)

54  Alan Weinkrantz PR Web Log (-42%)

55  nerd-in-residence (-43%)

56  Todd Andrlik (-44%)

57  Fusion PR Forum (-44%)

58  note to editors… (-45%)

59  Micro Persuasion (-46%)

60  GREENblog (-46%)

61  Blogging Me, Blogging You (-52%)

62  Heather Yaxley – Greenbanana PR (-55%)

63  Paul Gillin – Social Media (-55%)

64  Cooler Insights (-66%)

65  Canuckflack (-66%)

66  PR Meets the WWW (-70%)

67  First Person PR (-71%)

68  Corporate PR (-84%)

69  Media Artifacts (-84%)

70  Strumpette (-85%)

71  The last man in Europe… (-93%)

 

So, the most improved blog is, I’m happy to say, Barbara Rozgonyi who has continued to climb throughout the entire period. Her latest authority score is 83 and, given that she started at 11, this means she’s approaching a 7x increase in authority over this period.

I know, I know, small changes to small figures give big percentages – just look at the annual report for any start-up to see such claims. In fact I’m bracing myself for claims and counter-claims as to the validity of this approach.

But there are some heavyweight blogs that have experienced substantial percentage decline. Again, there could be many reasons for this, not least quite simply the challenge of finding time to maintain a blog, perform professionally and have some sort of social life.

I also thought it might be interesting to look at the total authorities across all core blogs over this time:

Nov 07 Dec 07 Jan 08 Feb 08 Jun 08 Aug 08
total 16007 15521 16103 14485 13401 11658
change -486 +582 -1618 -1084 -1743
percent -3 +4 -10 -7 -13

 

Not looking too great really is it? Comparing August this year to November of last year, there has been a 27% decrease in Technorati Authority. The average change month-on-month has been a decline of 870 Authority points, which equates to an average month-on-month decline of 6 percentage points.

What does this tell us? On the face of it, that the PR blogosphere is shrinking. Or maybe our core bloggers are just finding it difficult to maintain attention when there are new blogs around (note how only about three-quarters of the index is included here because other bloggers have stopped, started or changed in this time, such as my own blog for example).

Or maybe the ‘blog equity’ is also experiencing something of a credit crunch as other services such as microblogging and aggregators such as Friendfeed come to the fore. Perhaps we’re all just producing more quality rather than quantity, in which case perhaps this is a good thing.

Oh, and since you ask, my chart looks like this – bearing in mind I ‘came out’ as Brendan Cooper instead of being Friendly Ghost and made my primary URL brendancooper.com around December last year:

What I find weird here is how I have many more subscribers now, but a declining authority. I even get fewer hits generally now than before. But that’s for another day…

So, you want to get into social media?

I’ve been asked more than once recently “How did you get into social media – because I want to.”

A wallaby

A wallaby

If you’re a wannabe (see right), my topline answer would just be “Do it”. I mean, it’s all out there, most of it’s free, accessible and ubiquitous by definition. But that would be rude.

So, off the top of my head, my recent answers have included – in the order that I did them myself…

Write about social media: set up a blog about it

You don’t have to do this – and plenty of social media peeps don’t – but I’ve found it incredibly useful, not just to find out about this stuff but also as a repository of my previous thoughts/opinions/work. I often jump into the blog and fish something out to throw at people.

The blog gives you a place to think about stuff, crystallise your own opinions, get noticed, become part of the community.

But have a good old think about what you really want to write about though. It’s best to be associated with something specific, for example KD Paine is a measurement guru, Neville Hobson likes his tech, Steve Rubel annoys the heck out of everyone by being smart, etc

Personally, I recommend WordPress.com because it’s easy to use and secure, while Blogger seems quite spammy (and possibly dangerous), and I’ve found Typepad a bit fiddly.

And it’s free.

Read about social media: become an RSS ninja

Subscribe to the RSS feed for any and all PR/social media related blogs you can find. If you don’t know what RSS is, then find out.

If I may be so bold, you could start with my own PR Friendly Index for PR sites, and I might put something together for social media at some point.

I use Google Reader for handling RSS subscriptions, it’s just so great not only for managing subscriptions but archival and analysis too.

And it’s free.

Listen about social media: subscribe to podcasts

Does that heading make sense?

Wwwhadevur, what I’m trying to say is, there are some great podcasts out there which you can subscribe to, using Google Reader or iTunes for example, and spend at least half an hour in the company of someone who knows tons about this stuff and who would normally charge you large amounts of money for their time.

The behemoth of social media/PR podcasts is For Immediate Release, the most recent (and worthy) addition is the Tiger Two Tiger podcast, but there are others. Hey, I just remembered, I have a Podcast feed – check it out.

And they’re free.

Read more about social media: buy books

They are ridiculously old-fashioned but are great for getting the quality, well-researched, strategic thinking about where we are and where we’re going to.

My personal library contains tomes such as Wikinomics, Small World, Naked Conversations, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tipping Point – that sort of thing. If you look them up on Amazon I’m sure you’ll get other great recommendations.

Books, alas, aren’t free (yet) but they’re worth it. Think of them as an investment. You can impress people with phrases such as ‘democratisation of the internet’ and ‘disintermediation of the web’ until each of the theories is blown out of the water (one – Tipping Point – by one – Long Tail) then you can buy a whole new load of books again.

Join the buzz about social media: start using Twitter

Follow people in the PR/social media world to see what they’re talking about.

Best way to do this is to follow someone in this field (not necessarily me, although I am on Twitter), then you’ll get to see who they follow and you can start following them too.

Don’t use Twitter’s site though, use a client instead. I like twhirl because it has a nice enough interface and handles other platforms such as Friendfeed and identi.ca.

Twitter’s free. It doesn’t work very well though, so keep one eye on alternatives such as Jaiku or identi.ca

Share in social media: start using Friendfeed

Again through twhirl. In this way you’ll get to see what loads of people are talking in all sorts of other social media too because Friendfeed grabs feeds from other places such as Facebook etc.

In the same way as Twitter, subscribe to someone you think may be a good starting point, then see who they subscribe to, and subscribe to those people too.

It is also free.

Play with social media: immerse yourself

Find out about social networks such as Facebook, social video sites such as YouTube, social photo sites such as Flickr, social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us.

There’s no harm in setting up accounts for everything and having a play around with them. Not only will you broaden your knowledge, you might actually have some fun along the way.

And most of them are free, too.

Is that it?

Pretty much.

In this way you get to contribute your joined-up, thought leadership ideas on your blog, read other people’s joined-up, thought leadership ideas through RSS, participate in mid-size conversations on Friendfeed, put out your sudden thoughts on Twitter, and likewise follow other people’s mid-size conversations and sudden thoughts.

After a while you’ll start to notice that people will comment on your blog (it’s very exciting when it happens), follow you on Twitter and Friendfeed and slowly, slowly, you’ll start to ‘know’ these people, even if virtually. More importantly, they’ll get to know you, and you start to gain credibility in the social mediasphere.

Meantime, you just learn a lot of fascinating stuff about communications of all kinds whether online or offline. For example, did you know that everyone is currently saying PR is crap, and/or that it’s not needed any more? No? Then get involved in the social mediasphere and find out. It’s been said before, it’ll be said again.

So it’s not something you can just jump into overnight. You need to take the time to cultivate relationships, get to know people in the industry or the particular part of it you want to be in, share, contribute, become involved.

All I would add is: always try and think about how this can all help you be a better PR practitioner. Put yourself in the position of the people you’re listening to and conversing with. Ask yourself: what do they need? What are their concerns? What are they trying to achieve and how can I help? If you start to think in this way, PR as a whole will be, well, less crap.

Basically you just need to do your own PR. Good luck Mr. Gorsky.

Link love gone kerrrayzee

Ping pong, pong ping

Ping pong, pong ping

I’m due another issue of the PR Friendly index. This is my listing of the top 100 PR blogs I read, ranked according to various publicly available metrics. I’ve been thinking about introducing a bit more latitude to it, such as incorporating metrics from humans – that is, del.icio.us, Twitter etc – alongside those from computers. I’ve also looked into adding the nationality of each blogger because, well, it might be useful sometime.

So it was with interest I noticed several links coming into this blog that relate to similar lists.

Firstly Nick Burcher has drawn out the European marketing and media blogs from the Ad Age Power150. I’m ranked 59 which is a nice suprise.

Not to be outdone, Matthew Watson has produced his own take on the Power150: he’s stripped out the world’s top PR blogs from among the marketing and media mix within the Ad Age index. This blog is at number 21.

In my own PR Friendly Index, which is just PR blogs from hither and thither (as far as you can define ‘PR’ and ‘blog’) I’m at number 44.

Neither of the news indexes appear to be dynamic – indeed, Nick Burcher states that he doesn’t intend to update it, compared to the Ad Age Power150 which is 700+ blogs updated automatically every day – but they are nevertheless useful ports of call when looking for media blogs in Europe and/or PR blogs in the UK.

They’re also an object lesson in how effective they are at link love. Consider that:

… and that’s a whole lotta pinging going on.

I’m not querying whether they’re indicators of quality – as a broad rule of thumb you could say that the more popular blogs are ‘good’ but then again they could have just been around a lot longer – but I would say to anyone at all interested in a super-quick raising of their profile, that an index/ranking/league/list is the way to go.

Also, an oddity: I was recently having difficulty figuring out why Twitterfeed was still pushing my shared items out to Twitter even though I’d deleted the feeds (I discovered an old Twitterfeed account that I’d forgotten about so that’s fixed now). As a test, I tagged this bookmark in which I stated it was nothing more than that – a test.

As you can see, the bookmark has also been tagged by nine other people. How do you figure that one out?

That, combined with my recent discovery that you get more comments when you say you’re going to stop doing something rather than continue it, makes me realise that sometimes, you just cannot predict these things.

It’s all a bit crazy really.