This is getting good - did everyone see the dust up between Brian Solis and Greg Jarboe over Meatball Sundaes, er, make that social media releases?
It started with Jarboe's amusing SearchEngineWatch post Is the Social Media Release a Meatball Sundae? (Seth Godin's definition of two great ideas that don't go together well).
Brian Solis issued a point by point rebuttal here. Both gave as well as they took.
I think the controversy is becoming a little tired and self conscious. I know I have contributed to the noise because I have blogged about social media releases quite a bit (I was pretty skeptical at first, but more recently have warmed up to the idea and have been introducing it to clients).
But I try to stay pragmatic and avoid getting too religious or doctrinaire on this or any topic.
I have always maintained that we (the PR world at large) and our various tools should not be the main story. I am a techie at heart, but there is a real danger of killing things with technology kindness.
Reading through some of these posts takes you down a rat's hole, an acronymicom of complexity, and there is a lot to be said for keeping things simple (see my post PR Blinded Me with Science)
Anyway, I digress. At the end of the day, the %#@!!&& things either work or they don't.
And it should not be that hard to prove (not impossible anyway, this actually would take some effort): just launch the same news through different distribution mechanisms (standard wire service, social media distribution) and different wrappers (standard press release, SEO press release, social media release) and see which of the combinations come out on top, by various measures:
1) Coverage in mainstream media
2) Coverage on news sites
3) Coverage on blogs
4) Search engine rank
5) Coverage on the social news sites
Lastly, and most important (but hardest to measure): which moved the needle the most in terms of business outcomes, e.g brand awareness amongst buyers, or sales lead generation?
To be really scientific one would need to be clever in designing the experiment so that the coverage could be traced back to the specific source.