Experts who aren’t

Shel Holtz (a guy who really does know about business podcasting) tells of sitting in the audience at a business conference listening to a so called expert demonstrate a total lack of basic podcasting skills let alone expertise in business podcasts.

Sadly this is an all too common experience. I was chatting to a prospect the other day who had been told by a senior director at a big PR company that he should “start a company blog, and don’t worry about negative comments because the software lets you censor them.”

When I countered that it perhaps wasn’t the best approach I was told: “Ah, but he works for _Big_Name_PR_firm_ and is an expert, I heard him speaking at a conference.”

UPDATE: Josh Hallett just reminded me of something I say in most of my conference presentations or when I run social media training workshops.

“Nobody is an expert in social media, they’re just a year ahead of everybody else on the learning curve”

He reminded me that it was Jeremy Pepper who originally said it. 


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.rainierpr.co.uk/blog Stephen Waddington

    Come on Stuart. Name and shame. It's the only way the buggers will learn. We took you criticism to heart and killed our original blog.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/stuartbrucepr/ Stuart Bruce – Wolfstar

    I won't name and shame. Despite (or perhaps because of) the shortcomings of your original blog, your new one is great and has made my 'must read' list.

  • http://twopointouch.com Ian Delaney

    Too right, Stuart. We're in the Wild West, and there are cowboys aplenty. I think the Indians here are the ones that will admit that they are 'feeling their way'.

  • http://jameswarren.wordpress.com/ james warren

    Stuart – the expert (whoever he or she may be) does have a demi-point, in that blogging software *does* allow you to moderate comments. Naturally, any policy of deleting all negative comments is reprehensible (and will in any case result in a ridiculously credibility-deficient blog). But… (bear with me): most clients I speak to express particular concern that any member of the great unwashed could post unrelated incorrect/negative comments to their corporate blog. The key word here from their perspective is 'unrelated' – execs not familiar with blogging imagine the floodgates will open and their blog will be filled with company-bashing bile. And so, in this instance, I don't think telling a prospective corporate blogger that there is a facility that allows them to appropriately moderate comments that are off-topic or offensive (and as long as they disclose that comments are moderated) is as outrageous as you make out. Because it is my experience that as soon as the client executive is aware of the *possibility* of moderation, this particular (but, to them, acute) fear subsides. At which point they are immediately more responsive to hearing about the positive aspects of social media engagement and are more likely to 'jump in'.

    Of course, as you'll well know, comments generally end up being favourable and those clients that do 'jump in' tend to leave the negative comments in anyway (as per the best practice guidelines we all preach so passionately). But just knowing that they *could* delete comments if they felt the need is often the piece of reassurance clients need to take that first unnerving step into the great unknown…

    J

  • http://profile.typekey.com/stuartbrucepr/ Stuart Bruce – Wolfstar

    I partially agree with you James. I always talk to companies about how they can moderate comments, indeed I usually recommend that it is frequently necessary that they do. Having a clear policy in place is good practice. However, this isn't what was being suggested. Censorship (control exercised repressively to prevent or remove comments) is different to moderation (which is lessen the extremeness of comments).

  • http://jameswarren.wordpress.com/ james warren

    So we partially agree on a demi-point? Sounds dangerously like common ground to me : )

    I agree that 'censor' is a strong word and a strange one to use in this context (indeed, in any PR context). Who would say such a thing?