Tim Bray posted a doozy a few minutes ago on the changing face of PR, analysis, and trade press:
The Old Public Relations
The mechanism was easy to write down, it went like this:
Senior management, with a lot of input from marketing people, would work out a company’s message and talking points.
Internal marketing people, working with PR consultants, would try to burn the message into the retinas of the trade press and analysts.
The journalists and analysts would do what they do: the whorish segment of the profession regurgitating the company messages to the attention of very few, the independent thinkers producing sometimes-useful analysis of what the companies were really up to.
It never worked that well; to start with, it was expensive and slow. Also, there was a huge conflict of interest: the journalists and analysts, who positioned themselves as independents, were in fact mostly on the payroll of the companies trying to push the messages.
The New Public Relations
The new PR pipeline is a lot shorter, simpler, and wider:
Senior management works out a company’s goals and messages.
Management works hard to make sure that the employees understand them.
The people who are really doing the work tell the story to the world, directly.
It’s important to realize that this change in authority is partially responsible for the rise of LAMP/friends as a viable platform for building real applications. That is to say, these technologies have always been a capable platform but the change in how people receive and participate in information has allowed these technologies to step up and finally begin claiming the problem areas they fill so well.
Our biggest problem is that we don’t talk loud enough.
As an example, would 37signals have been possible even two years ago? I really don’t think so; at least, not in its current form. As much as I love the technical and methodological stuff those guys are pushing out, what I think is most interesting is how well they understand The New Public Relations.