Are You A Publicist?

Six months ago, back in August, I wrote “Digital Internet Snobbery”, which was basically about how I had begun interacting with more and more people that knew about, understood and utilized Social Media and fewer and fewer people who didn’t.

I actually halted the process of adding more people to my social sites to see if I could do something about that or if I WANTED to do anything about that.

I’m very comfortable and happy with people that know how to use Social Media properly, because it’s an efficient form of communication. The least time is wasted explaining things. I have very few conversations that I didn’t intend to have. Anything I want to tell someone is available by sending them a link through iChat or Skype. I can talk to Rox in Hawaii or Phil in the UK at the press of a button.

At this point, it just about PAINS me to interact with people that aren’t “hip” to Social Media. It’s so limiting. To me, it’s like speaking to people that don’t actually know English, even though they speak it a little. It’s so inefficient. You end up explaining things that you’ve already forgotten the explanations for because they’re so internalized already.

However, those of us that “get it” are in the vast, vast, VAST minority. We’re a subset of people that want to interact with other people inside a subset of people that have internet access inside a subset of people that have computers in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve had a couple of experiences in the last week that have allowed me insight into what “the masses” think about what it is that I/we do on a daily basis.

At some point this week, reader “David” got upset over a post I wrote. Last night, David suggested that I was linking to articles about real-life cases in order to increase my Google rankings. I’m not going to link to that post or his comment because the response would be the same… “You wrote this post so you could link to your other post and increase your Google rankings AGAIN! 🙁 “. hahahaha But the point is that offhand, I just didn’t have anything to say about that, because linking to references from inside posts is as common to me as saying my name when I introduce myself to people. However… SOME people don’t SAY their names when they’re introduced to people. Some people never introduce themselves at all…..

Earlier in the week, I was talking to my friend, Faya, and I linked her to a couple of my posts that reference Renzo Gracie & Carlos Feliz, including the trip Carlos and I went on to see Renzo fight against Carlos Newton @ Mohegan Sun.

Now… You see how much BETTER that last part was? You see how IF you were interested in any of the topics I mentioned, you could just click on them and get an extension of my post? Do you understand how much less typing I have to do because I can hyperlink to previously-posted material instead of having to explain the whole thing over and over? 😀

Anyway… So I linked Faya to my posts and her response was “Are you a publicist?” 🙂 I laughed at that, because I was reminded that to people who don’t do what we do as far as Social Media, our form of communication is going to appear strange to them. I certainly didn’t consider her question an actual inquiry as to what I do for work, which, in fact, it was hahaha.

The whole point of linking inside posts is a) avoiding redundancy / reinventing the wheel, and b) allowing the reader to quickly and easily access information which bolsters one’s point… or, in David’s case, refutes one’s point. David didn’t believe that the article I linked to had anything to do with the point I was making in my post, because I didn’t know the person in the article I had linked to. Unfortunately, that’s one of the flaws of the internet. We get information and we can’t possibly get the entire context. It’s just not possible. We have to roll with what we’re told. If they’re having a Presidential debate and there are lines on the bottom of the screen, we’re supposed to believe that those lines represent commoners who have buttons in their hands to click approval or disapproval of what the current speaker’s saying. All we can do is believe that or not believe that. We post what we think based on what we take away from the event.

So if someone posts opinions of the debate based on what they saw the lines do while the candidates were speaking, you can say the exact same thing. “You don’t know the people who had the clickers. You don’t know what their motivations were. You don’t know what was in their minds.” That’s absolutely true…. Unfortunately, what we’re presented is all we have to go on. It’s a flawed system, but it’s what we’ve got.

That’s not to say that I’ve never done things that I think would climb on Google, hahaha of course I have. Google is where you want to be, because it’s the only search engine people actually use. My point in the case that David commented on though, was that I was providing an example, granted, an EXTREME example of the situation I was writing about.

As far as Faya‘s question, I can understand why she asked that. 🙂 Attempting to read my posts as an outsider (read: 99% of the population), they definitely read more like news articles than personal entries on a blog. This is a personal entry right here, and it seems more like a report than anything, to me. This is because I’m not talking to myself…. I’m talking to anyone that happens to read my blog, wherever in the world they happen to be.

Bill Cammack Retirement Visitor Map

That’s what I look at every day. People from several countries reading my blog. I had over 4,000 unique visitors request over 7,000 pages of mine in the last month.

Bill Cammack Google Analytics Oct 04 2008

So it wouldn’t make sense for me to figure that people in California know about local NYC news. People in Hawaii? The UK? Germany? If you don’t post links to what you’re talking about, you’re leaving people in the dark that might otherwise learn something new and improve their lives. You’re leaving them to fend for themselves and try to Google the information that you very easily could have linked them to.

This is why it comes off as “being a publicist” to Faya and “increasing Google rankings” to David. When you get involved in Social Media, you learn to speak to the masses instead of to one person. Instead of one-to-one communication, it’s one-to-many. If I Twitter Bre that something’s going on, I’m actually announcing it to my entire roster of 1,200 Followers. That necessitates a different communication than if I had sent a direct message.

Similarly, some people post to the internet as if they’re writing a text diary. A “blog” is short for a “web log”. Some people are happy and content to type about what their dog did today or that happened at their job. I post a lot of pictures, but if I’m going to WRITE something, it’s because I want people to THINK. Think about ME, Think about YOU, Whatever… just THINK!

Even if you don’t like what I’m saying, you’re learning about something else in life that you don’t like and you can avoid in the future. Even if you don’t believe what I’m saying, you achieve a new understanding of the possibilities of what someone might be thinking about you or your relationship or your web series or whatever I happen to post about. So that’s one of the reasons why I post the way I do. Every post is a message in a bottle. I appreciated David’s comment because it’s an indication that he received the message. He didn’t LIKE the message… 🙂 I understand and respect that and I’m willing to debate anything that I post.

As far as Faya’s question… yeah… I guess I *AM* a publicist. 😀 I publicize myself. I could publicize other people if I felt like it. I spent the last 8 months (still there, I just don’t care anymore 🙂 ) on page 1 of Google for just my first name because I RAWK Social Media. Period.

For better or for worse, it’s changed the way I think and the way I communicate, and I appreciate comments and questions from people that don’t do this the way I do it, because I get to test my logic.

Cheers!
~Bill

Join the Conversation

9 Comments

  1. One of the limitations of social media is that if the the commentator of a blog post will not express exactly or thoroughly how they feel, you as the blog writer are wondering how they interpreted the post? And especially if someone is commenting anonymously without a link to their blog then that is when you know someone may be telling you a half truth.

    As a blogger and participant in social media, you are always thinking of different ways of how people may interpret your blog so that is why some blogs may be extremely long or even short. It depends on the author’s intent of their blog post.

    I’ve come to a point where I will not explain myself as thoroughly anymore for it is a headache for some people test you to give certain responses. I have had countless times where some people have made comments on my blog. but they don’t share the facts like you do, @Bill, in sharing a link to an article, etc.

    Sometimes I wonder on some posts if I should I turn off the comments so that I don’t have to deal with the ignorance or do I entertain it? Sometimes that can defeat the purpose of what you are doing but then sometimes I am so tempted to turn them off.

    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Hey Jenn. Excellent Points! 😀

    That’s actually something else that’s buried so deep inside that I don’t think about it anymore, it’s just natural. I put A LOT OF INFORMATION in my posts for that very reason. I want people to be as aware as possible of what I’m trying to express, but still, it always comes down to what they actually take away from reading what I wrote.

    Some people’s brains are programmed to shut down as soon as they read something that they don’t like. They form an opinion and can’t leave their minds open to ANY of the rest of their content.

    This is the tradeoff for me for being as self-expressed as I care to be. I actually TAKE POSITIONS and there will be people that agree and people that disagree. Other bloggers choose to ask questions without giving an opinion on the situation. That’s the “safe” road, and you aren’t likely to lose any of your precious Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or Flickr contacts.

    I could easily make five-line internet posts that people think are cute and funny and get virally passed around the internet every day. *YAWN*. Not interested. If you’re not willing to look at, think about or read about the hard questions in your life, you’re doomed to remain blind to the facts about yourself and what’s going on around you.

    That’s not my problem, and I find that the people that aren’t “up to” reading what I write tend to weed themselves out. 🙂

    As far as turning off comments, I wouldn’t do that on my actual blog, but I’m about to start a series that I’m going to hyperdistribute through TubeMogul, which is going to end up on YouTube as one of the destinations. I’m going to disable comments on my YouTube channel because I don’t give a damn what YouTubers think of my videos. It’s another outlet for distribution as far as I’m concerned, and not a site where I intend to carry on conversations.

    Also, for the most part, people that post here haven’t just been crying and whining. They have actually had legitimate issues with their own feelings based on reading what I wrote, and I’m willing to respect the fact that they READ my material and were willing to post something on-topic and respond to them. 🙂

  3. @BillCammack that is a good point in turning off the comments on youtube. I turned mine off after the internet trolls POUNCED on me only because they wanted to.

    On my blog, I have the comments that await moderation but I usually allow everything in but if I don’t care to engage in conversation I do not. Like you said, if the comment makes a good point then I may chime in but otherwise it is a waste of time.

    Over the next couple of years, I wonder how social media will evolve as those who *get it* and those *who don’t get it* continue to butt heads. It is going to be interesting to witness this development.

  4. I understand linking on blogs, and while my accusation about your interest in topping Google charts (which certainly seemed to be something you went on about at length in an earlier post) is, to be fair, me speculating on motive, my larger issue with your use of that woman’s murder to make your point is that- to pull in real-life cases you were not involved with to try to make some general point (i.e. your advice that women should “know their place”) to me seems less compelling than using personal examples. And, worse than that, it pulls her name in for judgment by yet another person that never knew her, and may only speculate on reports. And, I suppose, if I feel that makes for reckless and uninformed commentating, then I guess it is just me ‘not getting’ the world of bloggers, but to many people such as myself, she was a real person, and I don’t care to see her being told, more than 3 years after her murder, that she was just a woman that should have ‘known her place’ by a blogger that didn’t know her, but invites himself to use her murder to try to make a point. There is a big difference between that and, to use your example, making a point based on a political debate between public figures, and the anonymous people holding clickers watching the debate. Using her name is not commenting about an anonymous entity, or a person seeking public office. It is trying to score points against a murder victim in some blog post about dating or some damn thing, which ends up- thanks to your Google efforts- likely to be read by her family and friends. All these people- politicians, victims of crime- may all look the same to you in the newspaper, but there is a difference. And if you can’t see that, because, hey, blogging is blogging, and you should feel entitled to ‘speak to the masses’ about whatever you want. And, of course, that is your right. But the context and the recklessness of pulling her point isn’t a simple as just commenting on “the news”. And if you can’t understand that difference, then I may as well stop typing, since nothing more I say will create that understanding.

  5. ok David. Once again, thanks for commenting.

    To give an example of what you’re talking about, I wrote a post called “The Broderick / Parker Situation”. I don’t know either one of them. I’ve seen them in person, but I’ve never said word one to either of them and they haven’t said word one to me.

    One day, there were a bunch of posts on technorati about Broderick supposedly cheating on Parker. I decided to write about that. Nobody cried about it. For the record, I think what happened to your friend (whom YOU brought into this post, after I SPECIFICALLY left out all references to her, based on your earlier comments) was completely FUCKED UP and shouldn’t have happened to her. I’m sorry for your loss. Honestly. That doesn’t make a news article unfit for commentary, just because the outcome of the story was fucked up.

    A lot of people didn’t like that Michael Vick was sent to jail, but people talked about it anyway. A lot of people DID like it that Vick was sentenced, and people had things to say about THAT. So… Someone going to jail or getting killed or getting run over by a car or whatever happened to them doesn’t make their story “off limits” or “out of bounds” to newscasters, citizen journalists, bloggers or people standing around the water cooler.

    If you don’t believe that, go Google “Central Park Jogger”.

    As far as you speculating on my motive, thank you for bringing that up, but that’s up to the reader to decide for themselves why I do anything. Even if I were to type a motive for myself in “black and white”, that doesn’t make it true by any means. I don’t have any issues with you or anyone else believing what you want about the reasons why I post stuff to the internet.

    If you read my post, the point was that EVERYONE needs to “know their place”, *not* just women.

    I can agree that commenting on cases I had nothing to do with is “less compelling than using personal examples”. I gave a personal example, and I could give a bunch more personal examples of how guys’ lives were RUINED or completely ENDED because of some bullshit over a chick. That wasn’t my goal, and the way I write things, what came to mind is what I wrote.

    As far as the speculation, I see your point, but personally, I would blame the REPORTS and not people that speculate on the reports. Are you going to run around to every water cooler in America and tell people to stop talking about OJ Simpson getting arrested, AGAIN? hahaha (assuming you know him, since that seems to be your issue in this case, that you knew the woman in question). I can see you wanting to “look out” for your friend, but that’s just one of the “downers” of doing what I do. I write what other people are thinking but just won’t say in public. If you think I’m the only one that believes the outcome would have been drastically different if she had done something different, said something different or said nothing at all, you’re wrong.

    I think that MOST commenting is “reckless and uninformed”. Are you following the comments about the politicians currently running for The Presidency? Are you paying attention as people talk about how McCain’s probably going to croak in office and we’re actually voting for President Sarah Palin? Are you watching and commenting on blogs where they talk about Obama’s middle name as if that connects him more to foreigners than people from his own country? Fist Bumps? GEEEET the fuck outta here. It’s ALL reckless and it’s ALL uninformed. People see or hear something, and they comment on it. I didn’t invent this stuff. So I can agree that my posting is AS reckless and uninformed as anyone else’s.

    Also, do NOT add the word “just” to anything that I write. Thank you. I didn’t say your friend was “just” anything. I gave my opinion about what NUMEROUS sources claimed/reported happened to her.

    I’m not “using her murder”. I’m using REPORTS ABOUT her murder. The only thing NEW about my post was my opinion. I have no information about that case AT. ALL. other than what I read in the articles. Again, I’m sorry about what happened to your friend, and it was completely WRONG, but that doesn’t make it “off limits” for blogging or anything else.

    ok… So you mention her name. Since *YOU* care so much, David, I have amended the post to read “This is what led to a woman getting shot to death…”. I have taken her name out of my post, entirely, however, anyone that goes to the link to the article is going to be able to read her name anyway. Eventually, Google’s cache will refresh with the new page that does not have your friend’s name on it. As of this very second, the only reference to her name is in your comment #1 on that page. You can let me know if you want me to delete all or part of her name from your response or leave it like it is.

    It’s not that I lack an understanding of the differences in what you’re talking about. It’s that I do not SEE a difference. Yes. To me, News Is News. Having said that, I’m glad you’ve decided to stand up for what you perceive to be a slight against your friend. I’ve read all of your comments, and I’ve made one change to my original post which I hope gives you more peace of mind than you had before I made the change.

  6. Thank you for your thoughts, and especially for removing her name as an example. I appreciate that very much, and I would like to take you up on your offer of removing it from my comment as well. This is an example of a kind of decency and compromise I don’t usually find online, and I appreciate it very much.

    Sincerely,

    David

  7. No one ever likes when something very close to them gets treated and used solely as information. This action and response aren’t new but the internet turns it from being whispers at the water cooler into a shout on a busy street corner and the magnitude of hurt can go way up. Apparently, more people than we would ever think have had a secret desire to shout on street corners which is why blogging (geez, I hate that term) is so popular. I mean really, who knew there were so damned many budding journalists?!? LOL
    At least here the content IS thought provoking, flavorful, and well written.
    Bill, I have an idea for a website (which means it already exists): BadBlogs.com It would just be excerpts and links to bad blog sites for the sake of mocking. E.g. “My cat pooped today”, “I’m having turkey for dinner”. Nah, it would take too much editorial work and probably suck away my good kharma points and permanently damage my soul along the way. On the other hand it would increase their Google stats! 🙂
    Bill, how about a documentary of my attempt, like Supersize Me? Yes, I’m kidding.

  8. Hey Steve. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

    To a degree, I agree with you that blogging turns “whispers at the water cooler into a shout on a busy street corner”, except, who’s to say that the many, MANY water cooler whispers didn’t add up to a shout to begin with?

    Let’s take Sarah Palin for instance. They’re having a FIELD DAY on Saturday Night Live, making fun of her. 🙂 You know why that is? Because there are SO MANY PEOPLE whispering at the water coolers that she’s a cue-card-reader that was selected for her value as eye candy, and that more qualified yet less attractive females were passed over for that position.

    So, if someone blogs about Palin, they’re not really saying anything different than what other people have already said… They’re just being “penalized” for being the ones to say it in public instead of behind closed doors.

    Now… Let’s say Michael Vick is found to have misused dogs. In today’s society, where dogs have replaced KIDS in the hearts and minds of yuppies, that’s a really, REALLY big deal. How come it’s cool to bitch and moan about that to the high heavens, shouting from every street corner people can find, but it’s NOT cool to mention that some chick got her man’s jaw broken because she threw a hot dog at some other guy?

    Personally, I think that story contains a VALUABLE lesson for guys, which is that YOUR GIRL can get you HURT. A lot of guys don’t believe that. A lot of guys think that if they just stay quiet and let their women talk yang to some dude that could beat BOTH OF THEM up, everything’s going to turn out cool, because civilized men don’t hit women.

    So, that’s really *my* point. There’s as much to be learned (if not WAY MORE) from situations that turn out poorly as situations that turn out well. Michael Vick is in jail, as far as I know. That means that his story did NOT turn out well FOR HIM, but people love, love, love, LOVE the outcome, so it’s all lovely to whisper about and blog about and shout and dance about.

    Also, as far as “used solely as information”, 🙂 everything you read is information. This response is information. This post is information. Pictures that I post of Chicago architecture are information, you get information from ESPN and CNN. What do any of use GET besides information? 😀

    Anyway… The way I see it, if we run around the internet avoiding stories that ended poorly, we’re losing out on learning from 1/3 of the stories out there, with stories that end neutrally and stories that end well making up the other 2/3rds.

    Maybe this is the reason there’s so much CORNY, GOOFY material on the net. It’s just not worth it for people to blog about REAL stuff, because of all the extra PAPERWORK that comes with it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.