Some days I follow Pauline Collins’ lead and start having a conversation with the wall in front of me.
“Hello wall,” I say.
It never talks back, which is a good thing probably.
Shirley Valentine: Hiya Wall.
[to the camera]
Shirley Valentine: Well what’s wrong with that? There’s a woman three doors down talks to her microwave. Talking to a microwave! Wall, what’s the world coming to?
I have nothing against Shel talking to anyone, and if anyone knows anything about Social Media then my mate Shel does! He’s even written a book or three about it.
But what really gets up my nose and under my skin is that when the professional body for PR practitioners in Australia, supposedly the icons for all Aussie PR practitioners, look for guidance on this new ‘stuff’ they approach (in what smacks of the redolent ‘cultural cringe’ of the 1960s-1990s) someone ‘not from round these parts’. Why?
I would love to know why the following luminaries could not have been asked to shed some light on business blogging in Australia:
- Trevor Cook — probably Australia’s most prominent PR blogger
- Des Walsh — recently interviewed by highly influential U.S. blogger Debbie Weill
- Gerry McCusker — author of provocative pop-business text ‘Public Relations Disasters‘ (Kogan Page 2005, reprinted 2006)
- Cameron Reilly — probably knows more about Social Media marketing than any other person on the planet
- Ross Monaghan — ex practitioner now helping skill-up the next generation of new PR practitioners at Deakin Uni
Even I, who in no way shape or form considers or calls himself a PR practitioner could have offered some insight.
But no — instead of recognising and rewarding those within its own geography who have ‘gone the hard yards’ and built up both knowledge and experience themselves, a large and influential representative body chooses to slap its fellow countrymen in the face and approach an ‘outsider’. A supremely knowledgeable, affable and wise outsider, very true. But not the only Social Mediarist and business blogger on the planet.
Knowing Shel, I am sure he would have raised his eyebrows and expressed his surprise at being approached by the PRIA in lieu of his Aussie friends and colleagues. No doubt the PRIA had/have their own agenda.
But how long will it be before we finally rid ourselves of the ridiculous notion that it is only ‘foreigners’ (and particularly ‘North Americans’) that hold the keys to knowledge and wisdom about everything?
In Australia we have some of the finest minds in the planet, conducting some of the most breath-taking research and delivering results the world is desperate to hear. But in the world of business we are only, it seems, as good as… well, not very good at all. Far better, it seems, to pull in an outsider than to enquire of our own home-grown and culturally well-versed minds what needs to be done.
The PRIA could equally, rather than sully itself with asking Australian PR practitioners to talk to it, have approached Australian businesses that are engaged in the Social Media space:
Off the top of my head these include:
- The RSPCA in South Australia
- Bower Place Psychology, Counselling and Mediation Services
- Dymocks bookshop in Adelaide
- Mark Fletcher’s Australian Newsagency Blog
- The CSIRO
- Our Aunty ABC
- Dell Australia (who Trevor Cook is currently advising)
- Bibby Financial Services
- 3Loves online dating site
…and there are no doubt more but I need to get this post out and my feet out to a meeting.
I doubt I will hear a response, but I am emailing PRIA President Annabelle Warren (and more about her, and more) a copy of the White Paper on Social Media I co-wrote with Trevor Cook. It may just help her see that there are–shock!–even Australians who know about blogging for business…
Thanks to Paull Young who, whilst rushing out of the door to attend yet another bun-fest on his world-wide jaunt, found his eyes snapping when he saw Shel’s post and rattled off a quick email to me and a few other friends.
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