Debbie Weil is interviewed by Maggie Fox about the blog PR ‘imbloglio’ associated with her pimping GlaxoSmithKline’s Alli blog. Weil suggests that the outing of her email to colleagues by David Murray, which asked them to browse the site and leave comments, was a breach of ettiquette by David. A personal email! Published on the Internet! Egad!
But this is dumb. If you socially spam your ‘friends’ with this sort of request, where you are being paid to work on some social media project for a corporate client, you should not be surprised that people treat it as ‘commercial speech’: junk mail at the best, spam at the worst.
Friends should not let friends spam, Debbie. David’s intervention is in your interest. Listen to Maggie. Get some professional help, stat.
She goes on in the ‘black is white, white is black’ vein. She states that the Alli blog is healthy in the interview, even when Maggie points out that she was pandering for comments. “Organic comments are great,” she says, meaning real comments from real readers, really motivated to comment on the blog. “… Maybe getting a few other people to comment, nothing wrong with that, if you do it three times a week, maybe not so great.” So it’s ok to send spam out and to get spurious comments at a blog so long as you don’t do it too often: its ok to mix a small amount of garbage into the luncheon meat, in Weil’s world view.
Blogs that don’t generate comments even from the beginning are unsuccessful in the short, medium, and long term, in my experience. They are not connected to real communities of people, and no efforts to ‘attract readers’ can compensate for being out of touch and disconnected.
The whole thing stinks. Weil is floundering, and using weak arguments about ettiquette and admissible levels of lying to bolster her initial social spamming. Reminds me of earlier brohahas — like the Social Press Release mess of last fall (see Enough Already: Getting Social Media All Wrong, which led to a series of posts, culminating in a public brawl with Shel Holtz) where all sorts of people were pissed at me for publishing an ‘the emperor has no clothes’ piece following a Social Media Club meeting where some of the panelists said the most amazing bullshit. “Why didn’t Stowe contact me directly? Why publish this publicly? I could have clarified what I meant when I said that ‘we all know that the quotes in press releases are phony, wink, wink.’ I thought we were friends!”
We need to ignore people like Weil: social media profiteers.