Can PR get past spinnage?

That’s a question I raise and answer in the affirmative with What open code developers can teach PR, over at Linux Journal, following up on this post from several days ago. Some key points:

  Focusing on influence alone suggests that PR is just looking to expand the spin business from old media to new, and from old targets to new ones. There are other corners of the prism, other angles to come at the problems and opportunities in around conversation and relationship...

  To me the best of blogging isn’t measured by influence, popularity, traffic or the money that measurement of those bring in the from advertising. In fact, I’m not sure what makes blogging good is measurable at all. That’s because what makes makes blogging good is nothing more than being interesting, useful or both...

  What makes a snowball roll is not influence. It’s participation. Barns are not raised by neighbors in thrall of “A-list” farmers. They are raised by people who know how to build barns, and who know and work with the farmer who needs the barn. Which brings me to why I’m bringing this up here in Linux Journal.

  Software development has been going through a huge and important change over the last fifteen years, during which the bulk of it has moved out of the corporate sphere and into the social one. Today there are over 500,000 open source code bases, and that doesn’t even count ones that are essentially open but not happening inside SourceForge or other familiar venues. Those code bases have grown around use value rather than sale value – a critical distinction that Eric S. Raymond described eloquently in The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

  Most or all of those half-million development efforts are the code equivalents of barns. Some are raised by single developers. Others are raised by groups. Few are happening exclusively inside companies

  Looking for whom to influence, and how to measure that, is at best necessary but insufficient to the larger purposes of contribution and usefulness. And the hard part with both is that you can’t just measure them with money.

Hope it helps.

3 comments

  1. Simonsays’s avatar

    Tell Cap’n Ahab I can spot measurement on the horizon…

    I wasn’t going to post about my colleague Jonny Bentwood’s efforts to pull together a formula for measuring online influence until I’d read it. But as serendipity would have it, both Doc Searls and B.L. Ochman have both added to…

  2. chris reed’s avatar

    A great, but obvious turn of phrase – “What makes a snowball roll is not influence, it’s participation”.

    Sums up the whole old/interruptive v new/interactive media very well

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