Is your global web partner a dog?

by Lee Hopkins on May 23, 2006 · 4 comments

in miscellaneous

Woof!As part of the recent chat Allan and I had, Allan made the very sound point that within a few years a lot of PR/Marcoms activity (and of course other industries as well) will be conducted between consultants who live in different geographic regions and who know each other through the relationship they have built up on the internet.

This is one of the key tenets of this new social media (aka ‘Web2.0′) — that, over time, you are able to develop a ‘trust’ relationship with others.

I know that Allan will blog about this himself later today, and this post is not meant to interrupt or ‘gazump’ him in any way — it’s just that timezones afford me the luxury of getting this post out before he gets up.

With an example of the requirement to launch a multi-country PR or marcom campaign, Allan correctly suggests that two consultants in different parts of the world, say, Adelaide and Copenhagen, may well know more about each other and be of more value to a campaign than two senior executives from a global PR company with offices in Sydney and Copenhagen.

The obvious leap is that should that campaign require (from a European base) an Australian element, a North American element, a Canadian element, inter alia, then the Euro-based PR consultant would be able to tap into the local expertise of people he/she already knows and has built a relationship with, rather than the faceless executives of a global firm.

However, having slept on the idea, I can see a ‘challenge’.

Despite the ‘trust’ relationship that might be built up between two online-corresponding consultants, let us not forget that on the internet no one need know that you’re a dog. I can create any persona I like, and if I creatively or schizophrenically hold ‘true’ to that persona, over time I will cement that personality into the hearts and minds of others who repeatedly correspond with me.

So I could pretend to be, for example, a world-class brain surgeon and ‘hang out’ in the brain surgeon part of the internet. If I stay ‘true’ to the jargon then, over time, other brain surgeons (or those who are interested in them) may well develop a sense of ‘trust’. I may eventually be invited to perform a surgery and… and…

Bingo!

At the ‘moment of truth’ the whole edifice comes tumbling down.

So too with Allan’s virtual global PR team comprising of a free-moving, project-based, fast-evolving and fast-dissolving amalgamation of consultants. Whilst the executives from the global PR firm may not know each other, they do have the ‘trust’ base of being employed by the same company, with hopefully the same values and measures for success, and disciplinary measures for failure.

Having said that, let me categorically say that I trust Allan implicitly and this post is no besmirchment of his credentials, credibility, achievements or any lowering of my very high regard for him. It is a general warning about the internet, the same as our parents gave us about CB radio back in the 1970s.

Just because you ‘know’ someone on the internet and build up a level of trust, don’t believe that you can forgo due diligence. After all, unless you have actually met me, how do you know that I’m not a dog?

Woof.

  • http://www.bryper.com/ Bryan Person

    Lee,

    What do you propose as ‘due diligence’? If I were working with a company that wanted to launch a blog in Australia, your name would be the first that would come to mind. Would I ask for samples of your work or references from former clients that you work with?

    It’s true that you could be a dog, but if so, you’d be a mighty intelligent one!

  • http://www.bryper.com/ Bryan Person

    Lee,

    What do you propose as ‘due diligence’? If I were working with a company that wanted to launch a blog in Australia, your name would be the first that would come to mind. Would I ask for samples of your work or references from former clients that you work with?

    It’s true that you could be a dog, but if so, you’d be a mighty intelligent one!

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee

    Thanks, Bryan! [blush] But you raise an interesting point: if a business HAD heard about this social media stuff and WAS to search for someone to give them more info, how would they find me? Word of mouth? Possibly… Which is why I am getting more and more involved with PR groups like Ross Monaghan’s PR initiative in Victoria. Marcom is great, but I can’t see North American PR folks flying me out to consult with them :-) But I’m open to offers!!!

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee

    Thanks, Bryan! [blush] But you raise an interesting point: if a business HAD heard about this social media stuff and WAS to search for someone to give them more info, how would they find me? Word of mouth? Possibly… Which is why I am getting more and more involved with PR groups like Ross Monaghan’s PR initiative in Victoria. Marcom is great, but I can’t see North American PR folks flying me out to consult with them :-) But I’m open to offers!!!

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