Thursday, November 17, 2005

Looking Back: Thinking Forward - Part 1 

A peril of blogging is that a writer can be caught in a memory loop of repeating the same things over and over. This happens because humans fall into patterns that limit perception. While repetition isn’t necessarily fatal, a blogger can bore readers.

This blog entry is the first of an extended series that reviews several hundred past blog entries with an eye to isolating themes and perhaps, to identify new directions going forward. It covers the period between Sept. 9, 2002 when I launched Online Public Relations Thoughts and Jan. 26, 2004 when the blog moved here. Few PR people read blogs then, and almost no one followed a PR blog. (There weren’t many.) The archives for the old address are here.

I started Online Public Relations Thoughts for two reasons – to refresh www.online-pr.com with daily entries and to provide ideas for PR practitioners as well as to educate myself in PR and stay current.

The second reason overtook the first, and the blog today is focused on finding, understanding and explaining PR and communications strategies, tactics, technology changes, limitations, impacts on credibility and reputation among other topics. From the first, I had little desire to write about blogging. This might have been an oversight. However, I felt, and still feel, that PR bloggers who write at length about blogging are excessive. Blogging is a tool: It is useful for some practitioners and not for others.

I also did not attempt, to cover PR industry news – personnel changes, account wins and losses, association activities, etc. Trade publications such as PR Week and O’Dwyer’s Public Relations News do that better. Instead, I looked at larger PR issues because there is a need for observation that is often called a less-than-flattering name of “thumb sucking.” PR needs more “big think,” that combines with implementation. Practitioners are confined too often in byways of tactics.

Skimming old entries is a trip down memory lane, especially since I committed myself to writing five days a week. But, the result of frequent expression is a record of learning. Therefore, this summary might be of greater value to me than to you.

My thanks to Constantin Basturea, Peter Shinbach and Shade Vaughn for reviewing this study and adding their comments. Constantin Basturea (http://blog.basturea.com/) has pushed this slow learner into technological advances to which I had given scant attention. (This is an embarrassing admission from one who was once called a “geek.”) Long-time colleague, Peter Shinbach, is kind enough to bring me to earth when I sail too far into the heavens. Co-worker and colleague, Shade Vaughn, has read all of my essays and white papers and offered his insights. Shade is the one who suggested that I publish this as blog entries, which I am doing.

I will use several blog entries to publish the paper. There is too much to read if it were published as one. Each entry will be numbered serially in the headline to help you follow along.

I hope this review of what I have blogged might spur other bloggers to review their entries as well. They will be surprised at what they have learned since they started blogging.


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