As it turned out, we discussed social media at length although not a great deal of the conversation was about the consultation document, which is quite telling in itself.
I put this down to the fact that the consultation doesn't tell us anything new about social media and PR. Some of my thought's are available at David's vlog, but here are a few more:
- The consultation takes a particularly stern tone which serves (I think) to warn off PR practitioners from the online space. The introduction to the document ends: "Social media presents many traps...". Sure. But it also offers a lot of opportunities for the future of communciation.
- The document is also coming at social media from a traditional (perhaps typical CIPR) perspective. It is attempting to bring social media into line with current thinking when it should be looking forward to address the real impact the networked online world is having on PR.
- Trying to set rules in stone when the online world is developing rapidly seems a little silly too. Any final document will undoubtedly be out of date.
- The Code is very much based on the general CIPR Code of Conduct which focuses on legal and integrity issues. This makes it far too generic and rasies the question: "Why is a separate Code needed for social media?".
- It asks some pointless questions that really require intense academic debate. For example in describing Wikipedia, the Code says that the encyclopedia is open to public contribution providing they follow its guidelines. The guidelines are: content for inclusion must be verifiable, neutral and factual. Then the Code asks readers "Should PR practitioners be allowed to input material on Wikipedia?". My answer is: Yes. As long as it is verifiable, neutral and factual.
Anyway. There are a few more nuggets for the melting pot. I will be including most of these and more in my formal response to the CIPR which will be posted here and probably on GREEN's work blog
Thanks again to Stephen and David for hosting our session at a rather nice venue.... what's it called again... the Grou something... Ah, yes. The Groucho Club. Cheers, guys.