Blogger Engagement #1

16 12 2008

Newspaper Boat by marcelgermain.A term frequently used in digital PR circles is ‘blogger engagement’.   Although many blogs are a form of participatory journalism they tend regard themselves as different from mainstream journalism.  Some bloggers are in fact journalists who see blogging as a channel for communicationg their views and opinions directly to the audience without editorial interference.

There has been much debate in PR circles as to whether bloggers are the new journalists.  Personally I think it is interesting that many of the people that say blogging is not journalism also say that digital PR is more or less the same as old style public relations.  Neither is wholly true.

There are thousands of bloggers and most have little relevance or influence.  For many of these people if it is simply about the pleasure and excitement of being able to self publish. For those that operating at the apex of the pyramid I believe that the similarity between what they do and what a good journalist does bears a great deal of scrutiny.

But as author and blogger David Meerman Scott says “Bloggers are not the same as journalists. We don’t have editors telling us what to do. We write about what interests us and we are always on the lookout for things to share.  But it is not our job to write about you and your stuff.”



3 responses

16 12 2008
Jaz Cummins

I was trying to brief a work esperience girl doing some research for me, and she asked me to explain the difference between a blog and a website…Always fun!

With comments on national press sites, many professional bloggers writing with editorial constraints of one sort or another and many jornos blogging personally, the lines are blurry!

I think your old style public relations point is true in the sense of it being about knowing your media and building real relationships whatever type of publisher they are.

16 12 2008

Yeah the lines are blurred. I suspect a great many journalists are bloggers themselves.

I think a lot of PRs – like a lot of journalists – are struggling to understand exactly what blogging is. A pitch to a journalist and their publication may be fair game. A pitch to the same journo with their blogger hat on may completely inappropriate.

16 12 2008
David Meerman Scott

Hey Rob.

Your new book sounds really interesting.

Unfortunately, many people to think of the Web as a sprawling online newspaper. The metaphor of the Web as a journalism is inaccurate on many levels, particularly when trying to understand blogs. It is better to think of the Web as a huge city teaming with individuals and blogs as the sounds of independent voices just like the street corner soapbox preacher or that friend of yours who always recommends the best books.

Blogs and bloggers are now important and valuable alternative sources of information, not unlike your next-door neighbor. Take them with a grain of salt…but ignore them at your peril. Just remember that nobody ever said your neighbor was the same as a journalist.

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