Last week Edelman lost its virtuous positioning among the bloggerati with the saga of its Wal-Mart blog - or indeed Flog as we now know it should be called. Uncovering the inside story on the blog has drawn an ugly reaction from the anti-Wal-Mart lobby, and indeed the anti-anything-to-do-with-PR lobby. The storm has been whipped to a frenzy by blogging commentators and PR competitors, just some examples can be found here Ketcheson, bizhack, Publishing 2.0 and Shel Holtz.
Recently WaggEd also ran into a few local difficulties, see the story at SVW. Although WaggEd's problems were more of a foot-in-mouth gaffe, rather than the result of a machiavellian strategy (and so are more easily forgiven).
This despite the fact that each organization would have considered itself among the leaders in the field.
Both episodes serve to highlight that no PR company has yet solved the challenge of blogging, despite noisy claims to the contrary. By challenge of blogging I mean participating in blogs, advising customers, building strategies, internal education, understanding technologies, etc... the whole gammut.
Too often knowledge is kept inside the heads of a handful of leaders within each organization. While client-side, few organizations have reconciled the behavioural implications of choosing to participate in a new, fundamentally honest and open medium.
In simple terms not enough people, 'get it' yet. But everyone has access to the tools. So there's still plenty of potential for many, many more gaffes to follow as PR people and marketers stumble out into the blogosphere.
In the interests of transparency, both Edelman and WaggEd are competitors to our PR business, and when I say 'no PR company has yet solved the challenge of blogging' I include ourselves. Its an ongoing journey.
Tags: Edelman, Wal-Mart, WaggEd