Monday, March 13, 2006

Wal-Mart+Edelman+NY Times: Perfect Storm or Tipping Point?

On Friday, Jim Horton at Online Public Relations Thoughts pointed out this "Doh" moment about how bloggers have impacted business-as-usual in Detroit.

I made a comment over at Jim's spot that felt worth transporting to this blog, i.e., I think that the Wal-Mart/Edelman controversy from last week will be looked back upon - by the mainstream media (MSM), by the PR industry, and by the rest of the blogosphere - as either the tipping point or the perfect storm for the critical storyline about blogs merging and competing with the MSM.

If it's a Perfect Storm - which you could argue for, given the negative tone of many stories and the inimitable cast of characters (Wal-Mart, world's largest retailer + Edelman, world's largest independent PR agency + NY TIMES, the Gray Lady of journalism), that will mean that a harsh light will shine on the PR industry, in which we'll be "exposed" (unfairly) as cynical spin doctors with questionable intentions and tactics.

If it's a Tipping Point - which is what I'd suggest it is, for the record - then we will see the "influence of blogs" meme (a la the story out of Detroit, above) continue to grow in prominence. This meme is less about "how PR influences blogs" and more about why we're reaching out in the first place, i.e., "citizen media is an influential outlet" for corporate/marketing outreach.

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