The PR death watch continues. On a Foremski-inspired rampage, I have previously gone after some
sacred cows (see Death of Media Relations) and nothing can stop me now. After all, what could a blog called Flack’s Revenge possibly be about if not rage and score settling (see Revenge top 10)?
The latest victims are various types of contact databases. If I were a vendor of software systems designed to track and organize people – HR systems, recruiting software, sales contact management systems, directories, etc. – I would be very nervously looking over my shoulder right now at social networking technologies like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
New technologies are starting to make inroads, as part of a so-called Enterprise 2.0 movement, bringing the benefits of social applications to all types of organizations.
In the PR realm, vendors of the systems PR people have traditionally used to track media contacts should take note, as these are increasingly looking static and long in the tooth.
We had an educational workshop at Fusion PR this week about social media and social networking tools for PR. During the session many chimed in that they are finding that LinkedIn and Facebook offer good ways to review journalist profiles.
Continuing on the subject of social networks, this excerpt from my post Have you Friended a Journalist Today described how social network updates were put to use in lieu of the typical press release distribution and publishing exercise.
In Good Use of Social Networking Sites in Business,
Harry Chen blogged about an entry from another site in which the
commenter observed that social networks have become a kind of portable
contact management system and PR machine:
I’m feeling pretty empowered, because on the day I launched my new company,
about 800 key contacts in my network were immediately notified when I updated my
profile. It was better than a press release, because the people who really
mattered were the ones that were first informed.
And in this post I called out Laura Fitton as an example of a PR person who has mastered Twitter. As she related in her Tech PR War Stories interview Twitter Magic, Laura has built an impressive Twitter following. She said in the podcast that one use for Twitter is to get an extra level of familiarity about a reporter, by reviewing Twitter updates before briefing.
Of course, many journalists have their own blogs – what better way to get to know a journalist than to review their blog posts?
Speaking of bloggers, Vocus and Cision have been adding bloggers that are not traditional journalists to their systems. But do these systems offer the same types of useful information as Technorati, in terms identifying not just the A list, but also B list bloggers, by subject, authority, who links to whom, etc?
Granted, the traditional systems do offer real advantages in terms of database and reporting functionality, and in providing important contact details like phone and email when available. We have gotten very good use out of them over the years, and continue to do so.
But, as I said in this post, some are suggesting that these systems offer the media and bloggers ways to opt out, to combat the problem of pitch spam. And the profiles found in these systems are increasingly looking out of date.
Like other contact systems, and other facets of old school PR, media tracking databases need to adapt or get out of the way.