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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Posted by philgomes 6:35 PM
Pt. II: Yes, I've Been Working On The Social Media News Release, Too

Pt. II: Yes, I've Been Working On The Social Media News Release, Too

First... For those of you out there with your Blogosphere Response-Time Stopwatches (free with SASE and three cereal box tops, I'm told) this is going up a little more than *click* eight hours after I saw the first related post.

From the eagle-eyed folks over at Topaz Partners, who caught what I thought was a somewhat innocuous post on the New Media Release Google Group yesterday:

The new app will likely compete against PRX Builder, an earlier attempt to put a user-friendly face on the social media press release, as well as other attempts to socialize more traditional formats/mechanisms.
Well... Two different approaches, in any case.
We've used PRWeb's service, which includes many of the options that were initially specified in Todd Defren's suggested format, and I've been reasonably pleased with the performance, although it's not quite 100% social media, it's a step in the right direction.
Agreed. And it's about time folks started re-examining the news release. Glad lots of folks are doing so.

My primary concern about how the social media news release is currently conceived is that it's really less "social media" than "news release." The focus is all about "attention" and not about "sustainability" or even "conversation." All are important but, if one values conversation as a first-order variable, that's where the focus oughta be.

Edelman StoryCrafter is built primarily as a hosted system. If someone wants to take the releases it generates and transmit, fine. With more and more wire services becoming increasingly sophisticated with XHTML support, the transmission variable doesn't worry me, though I do believe the community should develop standard "glue logic" between wizards and wire distribution services (naive as that sounds). I see no reason why a transmission element can't be integrated later on, but we find there is less interest in that part of the equation.

Edelman's move will be a unilateral (or probably more accurately a bilateral one, as I'm sure they've brought in a partners or two).
No partners on this one, though we did seek the assistance of a development house.

("Unilateral?" "Bilateral?" Someone's been watching too much C-SPAN. *8-) )

How flexible their format is...
Very. We have no interest in building a rigid system that isn't future-proofed.
...and how well it will play with the social media release standard being developed by a consortium of practitioners.
The intent is to support and contribute to any credible and useful standard. The Social Media Club has a good start.
But I welcome any attempt to make social media more approachable.
As do I. Many thanks.

Now... Over to Todd Defren.

First off, and notably, Edelman seemed to use the SHIFT template for their announcement --- which is pretty cool.
Made no sense to completely reinvent something for the sake of doing so, though we do think that the hosted approach and the comments element (not included in the spec) adds a lot.
They also used my favorite Technorati tag (social media news release) to point to the industry-wide discussion. Thanks, gang!
One could go the other extreme, perhaps, and tag every variation known to man, but that'd be useless and wasteful. If people stuck with "social media news release" and "newmediarelease" then I think we'd be happy.

So, go ahead! Pat yourself on the back! Wait... Too late... *8-)

But I am not clear on what is being announced, exactly. The release calls the new service, "StoryCrafter -- a Web-based software tool for helping companies produce and deploy social media news releases."
The tool is hosted. Companies can choose to install it in their firewall or (far more likely) unlock a tertiary domain (e.g., socialnews.company.com) and park it separately.

Whatever version they choose to push toward transmission is up to them.

Again... The hosted approach appeared more conducive to a more conversational focus. We'll see how things develop.

But it's not being presented as a drop-by-and-kick-the-tires kind of thing.

But there are no links to a StoryCrafter site?
It's not a "site," nor a service for people to just sort of log into and push "publish." It's a client offering.
A Google search doesn't yield any results.
Edelman rarely transmits its agency announcements over wires, social-media or otherwise.

(Sidenote: And consider, hypothetically, that if an Edelman announcement (or that of a client) could end up in Google News without use of a wire service, the folks who don't know me and think I do more of this than this would likely freak out.)

It can't be a service just for Edelman clients, based on Rick Murray's quote: "StoryCrafter lets people create social media news releases quickly, easily, and affordably."
Why are the two mutually exclusive? Clients deserve quick, easy, and affordable, too.
The screen capture looks interesting --- but functionally it appears to be derivative of the PRX Builder service announced in September...?
"Derivative?" I wouldn't go that far. That said, there are only so many ways one can skin a fill-in-the-blank social-news-release cat. So it doesn't surprise me that someone would see similarities to another product in any one screen.
Either way I'd like to take it for a test-drive.
We'll probably set up some semi-public sandbox for it, so long as the management of it remains reasonable.
For all I know, the Edelman software may be superior, but my first question is going to be about distribution. Will Edelman facilitate links to major newswires, as PRX Builder did with PRNewswire? If they have no plans along those lines, it's not a deal-breaker but it would seem to be a major benefit for companies looking for a seamless solution for Social Media News Release creation & distribution.
I could see why that would some appeal, but keep in mind that, philosophically, we're more interested in exploring the "social media" part than the "news release" part. I believe the news release part, as I'll explain in another post tomorrow, is only a metaphor for what we (and, believe it or not, all of you) are all trying to accomplish.

That said, we're certainly not averse to integrating with some kind of distribution mechanism. That'd be silly. If that happens, though, I'd want it to be an industry-standard layer of glue logic between Edelman StoryCrafter and wire services. (And we would hope other SMNR wizards would do the same.)

And... Over to Chris Heuer posting on the Social Media Release blog...

We will have a more in depth review of the tool itself in the coming days as well as an interview with Phil Gomes from Edelman's Me2Revolution Group.
*gulp* Did I miss the meeting-maker?

(Scrambles to check Outlook.)

Sure... Any time...

Anyway... More later.

Update: Misspelling a tag ("hreff") caused a well-deserved link to Todd Defren to drop. Fixed. Yes... I'm a nerd who prefers to hard-code it.

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