Along with my post yesterday about the generosity of social media and Shel Holt’s post about the strategy for a Blogging Relations program he has worked up for Click.TV, got me to thinking about the culture of blogging and other social media.
If public relations is to have a role in this space, it will require that we firmly understand the blogger culture and its dynamics.
Since I know the brainpower of my readership is much greater than mine, I would like to ask you to help me develop a list. I will start us off by doing a little thinking out loud, Some of these tenants can cross over into podcasting and videocasting, but I will use the blogger as an example.
Generally, bloggers are…
1. Connected. Social media creators pride themselves on keeping up and being on the cutting edge of information pertinent to their blog. And there are as many methods of doing this as there are people. Mastering the tools that bloggers use, such as Technorati and others, in order to understand how they collect information. B.L. Ochman has a great series on top bloggers favorite tools. Popular PR blogger Steve Rubel once posted that he liked to be pitched via del.icio.us. You can get up-to-speed on del.icio.us at this post.
2. Humble about Influence. Bloggers may seem very self-assured about their opinions and they do have a lot of influence; however, the community will cut them down to size if they come off as too self-assured. Bragging about your rankings at Technorati, PubSub or other search engines is not cool. Joking about them is.
3. Treat Links as Currency. Mike Sansone had a good post about this earlier this week. He said that if you don’t get referrals, no one will ever find you. However, begging for or swapping links is considered distasteful. While stunts and outrageous statements can have the effect of building links, the long-term relevance of a blog is based on the slow and steady building of influence from unsolicited links. As a result, people who e-mail asking for coverage are often seen as beggars on the corner. You are more likely to be successful if what you have to offer is very relevant to the blogger or if you have an existing relationship.
4. Treat Commentors as Influential. Most bloggers love comments, it shows that people are actually out there reading. Someone who has thoughtfully commented on posts can, over time, develop a relationship with a blogger.
5. Have a Healthy Dose of Skepticism. Bloggers always have an eye to how things can be improved and what can be learned from a particular event, news story or tactic used. They look at everything through a critical lens in order to make their own mark on a subject. When they are proved wrong, they generally admit it, but not before the original thought might have been spread to the four corners of the earth. Speed in addressing misperceptions is critical. The 24-hour news cycle is even more compacted in social media, especially blogs.
Am I way off base? What have I forgotten? What do you think are the most important parts of the blogging culture? Obviously, this is a macro look and each blogger would have to be considered in their own light, but what else do we need to know generally about this public called bloggers?