We went to the PRSA social media luncheon earlier this week, and it turned out to be pretty interesting. And the food was good, for a change! We weren’t going to blog about this. But yesterday, we saw that one of the panelists, the Chicago Tribune’s Eric Benderoff, blogged on it. As if that wasn’t a sign we should jump in, the comments on his blog got us talking.


Molli: Did Cyrano just call Eric a knucklehead?


Brigitte: Pretty much. Didn’t he realize he was commenting on a blog?


Molli: Well, once we get these comment IDs, we’ll see if he’s still leaving harsh comments like that when they’re linked back to his true personal profile.


Brigitte: No kidding! I agree with Eric that the anonymous comments are out of control. But they weren’t just attacking him. We PR people got our share of flack.


Molli: Don’t people understand that we, as PR people, aren’t trying to control the conversation? We just give bloggers ideas for new things to talk about it.


Brigitte: Right, and then it’s out of our hands. We don’t write the posts for the bloggers.


Molli: And then it’s up to the public to comment. We take those comments for better or worse – and learn from them.


Brigitte: It makes me crazy how everyone perceives PR people as being some sort of master manipulators. How would that even be possible?


Molli: Well, you know, I do offer a cut of my paycheck if a blogger says something nice. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always liquor.


Brigitte: Haha. But seriously, Molli, our clients have a right to participate in the conversations about their organizations. We help them do that. That’s all there is to it.


Molli: I couldn’t agree with you and Eric more. Once clients decide to go into the social media world, there are risks. It’s a risk you have to be willing to take. We don’t try to change the negative. We want to hear what people are saying.


Brigitte: So, to our readers, to anonymous commenters, to luncheon-goers: What do you think?