Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Anyone with kids, who remembers being a kid, or who watches the Simpsons will recognize that oft-grating phrase.

It’s usually repeated ad infinitum until Homer relents.

But today I’m asking the question about social media.*

I’ve been a follower for nearly three years. I’ve been blogging for 16 months. I began as a reluctant blogger and have since moved closer to the centre (if such a thing exists).

It feels like blogging has gained some mainstream acceptance (the New York Times seems to write about it fairly regularly; Roots has two blogs on its website). As an agency owner, we now do targeted blogger outreach as part of media relations and we recommend social media strategies when appropriate to a project.

But the blogosphere still seems entropic; with an ‘anything can happen, so why not hang out’ type of attitude (and maybe that’s part of its charm). It can also be clique-ish and at times like a high school popularity contest (e.g. who’s linking who).

So all this got me wondering:
1) if we’re there; and
2) where in blazes there might be?

And the truth is: I don’t know.

DOES ANYONE HAVE AN IDEA?

(Sorry for the caps, but I’m trying to be emphatic.)

Sometimes it seems like a never-ending road movie; more episode than story. Other times, it’s like being at a crossroads: which link do you choose, where will it lead you and will it take your breath away?

It does feel as if some of the novelty has worn off. People aren’t quite so bright-eyed as they were say six months ago. I personally love it, because I enjoy writing and it’s become a real outlet for me.

But if I look at the ‘big world’ of PR and communications, I’m not so sure if blogs and social media have truly arrived (in the way that websites arrived in the late ’90s). They’re here, make no mistake about it. And I think they’re important. But in many circles they remain a curiosity, an outsider… a little like a Canadian traveling abroad.

And perhaps, if I can continue stretching the metaphor, some folks are just not ready to cross the border into Canada and (to quote the old punchline) ‘get to the other side’.

Maybe they just need a bit more direction.

*For more on this topic, listen to Inside PR 110.

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2 thoughts on “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

  1. Certainly, I think blogging has gained mainstream acceptance by mainstream media and general popular culture for a number of years now.But the unrealistic expectation that every voice in the blogosphere should or can gain mainstream recognition is fallacious in context of our social and media culture — in my humble opinion. In other words: there are elites in every genre of cultural activity, some of whom will be accepted by the mainstream, while the majority reside in obscurity.I’d like to be challenged on this if anyone sees my argument as flawed.Michael

  2. You bring up a good point Michael. As democratic a process as blogging is, you still need a special something to stand apart and be counted. Perez Hilton is a household name, but for every Perez there are hundreds of John and Jane Smiths with their own gossip blogs that you’ll never hear or read about. The power of these few significant bloggers cannot be ignored though, as more and more readers get their information on their favourite blogs and less from traditional sources. I’ll chat with my girlfriends about major news stories and most often when they tell me where they heard about it they’ll say Perez instead of 680 or The Globe and Mail.As someone who works in PR but who also has a regular blog reflecting my own personal tastes, I find receiving press releases to be very interesting! As more and more pitches from marketing and PR people come into my inbox, my PR training makes recognizing the same material on other blogs a snap. If I see the same pitched material on too many other blogs I avoid posting it. What makes someone a good blogger is original material or an original voice, and simply copying and pasting a press release does not make you a good blogger.

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