When I first started in public relations in the early ’90s, I attended a lot of professional development sessions where I was told, “Don’t sell yourself short,” and “don’t give it all away by offering free council.”
It all seemed to make sense at the time. We were struggling to prove the value of public relations council to senior business executives.
Recently, I posted about communities forming in the PRBlogosphere on Marcomblog and Constantin picked up the conversation on his blog where Dee Rambeau said something that caught my attention and got me thinking:
“Sure, many of us are common in that we practice public relations and we evangelize best practices. But we’re all of different opinions about most stuff and we are actually competitors more than we’re allies.”
Doc Searl’s talks about three moralities, or what I like to think of as business models, for Web 2.0 companies: self interest, accounting (scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours) and generosity. These can easily be applied to Social Media, such as blogging, podcasting and video-casting.
I believe that the posture of generosity is essential to the Social Media culture.
After all, I don’t have a platform for my ideas unless other bloggers generously link to me and readers subsequently visit my site. My traffic stats show that the majority of readers of Communication Overtones, 67 percent, come from direct referral from other Websites. I would imagine other bloggers have similar stats.
It is what interests me about blogging. While we are “competitors,” as Dee points out, it is in our self interest to cooperate. So, do Doc’s three moralities collapse into one category if you follow the model of generosity? Does self and mutual interest get realized through a generous, open source and transparent model? In other words, does it lead to business success?
By the way Shel Israel, this is the question I hope you ask as you talk with Web 2.0 leaders for your new book.
If you have read this far, what do you think?
Is the key to breaking into a Social Media environment based on generosity, which automatically meets the criteria of Hugh McLeod’s Two Immutable Laws of Blogging: