Public Relations lesson of the day

Public Relations lesson of the day: A long time ago, I was in the public relations business. I can’t tell you how many times I advised a particular client to do exactly what Dave Winer is saying this morning:

“I don’t even read my bio, or articles about things I contributed to. It just gets me all riled up and there’s nothing I can do about it, so I don’t even look.”

Dave has a consistent platform, scripting.com, and he passionately writes there about his point-of-view. He writes there everyday on the events and topics — big and small — that matter to him. Because he does this, I don’t think he has to chase his story all over the web trying to correct those who feel the need to hijack, misinterpret and recast his story. (And for some reason, lots of people feel the need to do that.)

For me, there’s a peace-of-mind in knowing I have one place where I can tell my story the way I see it — even if it’s not that significant a story. Before blogging, we all had to depend on other people’s platforms to “interpret” our story. If you we’re doing something significant in your community or business, it was the “media” who told our story. If it was something significant to fewer folks, it was the “grapevine” who told our story.

When it comes to telling ones story, peace-of-mind for a teenager means having a Live Journal platform to explain her or his side of a breaking-up-with-my-boyfriend/girlfriend drama (I won’t embarrass anyone with a link). When it comes to telling ones story, peace-of-mind for a billionaire is having a weblog platform to present his side of an interview with the New York Times. When it comes to ones stories, peace-of-mind is knowing there is at least one place where you don’t have to watch others misinterpret your story, bend your story, mock your story.

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  • Ryan

    I love Dave’s site and have read it every morning for the last eight years. But recasting one another’s stories is what writing is all about, as much as PR professionals and others in power might often wish that were not the case.

  • rex

    Ryan. Perhaps “recasting” is fine. I prefer writing that interprets or enlightens, but recasts may be okay. I am not suggesting we do away with writers and media: please, I’m a magazine publisher. I just feel it’s a better world where everyone can have their own platform from which to speak continuously — even when writers aren’t interested in what you have to say.

  • Cole

    What’s more embarrassing? You posting that link or you actually having a link like that to post?

    (Sorry. I couldn’t resist teasing you about that one.)

  • Ryan

    Writing can at once recast and enlighten. In fact, it is nearly impossible to write an enlightening news article if one allows each story subject to dictate exactly how he prefers to be portrayed, so recasting is arguably required.

    If you or I want to lend a credible perspective, the very first thing we need is respect for the perspectives of others, whether or not they are directly involved in the story. Complaining that writers have minds of their own — using perjoratives like “hijack”,”misiniterpret” and “recast” for words describing the very duty of the writer — tends to give the impression of a one way street, where the writer is the one who is supposed to have all the reverence for the subject.

    Of course it is clear to me personally that this is not the case here with you, from reading your comments and other entries, so I am simply offering a comment on one portion of your post, not disagreeing wholesale.