PR? Essential? Blogs? From a Ragan tweet to a Cooper post via good old-fashioned email.

Today I saw an interesting tweet from Mark Ragan of Ragan Communications. He pointed to a list of ’25 Essential PR Blogs’.

This piqued my interest for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I have a bit of form when it comes to lists of PR blogs. I used to curate the PR Friendly Index, in which I attempted an evolving, transparent methodology in which to rank the PR blogs that I read. I learned a lot from doing this and, incidentally and completely honestly, got a lot more attention for doing this than I ever anticipated.

Moreover, I was interested in two critical words: essential, and PR. Because what I learned through the PR Friendly Index was that, while my list tried to remove the subjectivity as much as possible – given that, accepted, it was my own reading list to begin with – I keep coming across other lists that have little or no objectivity at all. So ‘essential’ interested me.

PR was also an interesting term. I found out through the index that people who used to write about PR had largely turned to talking about social media.

So I retweeted and responded: RT @MarkRaganCEO: 25 essential PR blogs: << Essential in what sense? PR in what sense? Sorry, don’t buy it.

Mark responded, asking why. So I emailed him back, and we had a nice email chat about it.

This is the gist of my argument, which Mark has kindly given consent to be republished bearing in mind it was an email convo:

Regarding the ‘I don’t buy it’ comment, it’s just that I’ve seen a lot of lists, mainly in my PR Friendly Index travels (see for the backstory there).

I just have a problem with:

  • Essential – without any metrics used to qualify this. About six months ago I popped up on Smarter Social Media’s list of 100 Smartest People in Social Media (see… – although I just noticed the link is broken so I’ve asked them where that’s gone). I did point out to them at the time that there were no metrics accompanying this, so it really was just their take on it and it would have been nice to see a real, objective way of compiling such a list (I even had a chat about it with their CEO later that day). This is what I was trying to do with the PR Friendly Index. So, I don’t buy ‘essential’ without a way of saying what that means. Essential for what, to whom, why?
  • PR – I noticed some blogs on the list that were about social media. Now, I know it’s all about communication, and social media and PR fit together hand-in-glove, but that was another issue that my PR Friendly Index brought up: namely, that everyone seems to be jumping on the social media bandwagon. I posted about it here:…. So, as well as not really getting the ‘essential’, I don’t get the ‘PR’ here either. I guess this is just definitions, but they’re important.

And basically I was probably just trying to cause a stir with my tweet, but it got your attention! 😉

At least I was open and transparent with the last point there…

So, very interesting. I like the way Mark asked me for more feedback, and how we were able to have a chat about it away from Twitter (I almost said ‘offline’ there but that’s almost how I view email these days).

We’re still all learning from each other and, on a day in which Facebook makes a move to dominate the location-based space and in the UK we find we’re spending half our time with online media, perhaps we need to start accelerating our understanding, now.

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