Someone defaced Rush Limbaugh’s face on a Baltimore billboard, and a Public Works employee, clearly no fan of Rush’s, made a comment about it doing his heart good. And the media/blogworld was off on a wild frenzy. This story from the Baltimore Sun needs to be posted in the offices of every communication manager in the world. And especially this comment from Lee Rainie of Pew:
“Something can go from zero to a million miles an hour in a couple of clicks,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. “That makes us sort of a hair-trigger world.”
Wow. But more than this–put this in the context of my previous post about top communicators and crisis management experts still having a hard time understanding what has happened in the new information environment–all I can say is please pay attention.
I’ve got to readjust my thinking too. I used to preach and harp on the “Golden Hour.” I think I might have to change it to the Golden Minute.
I commented earlier about the anger of bloggers referencing an article in Books and Culture by Alan Jacobs. As company leaders get into the blogging world and respond to those who may be attacking them in the blogging world, they will confront the issue of rhetorical styles.
While there is a great variation in styles in the blogosphere, much comment mirrors the rhetorical style that has become far too common in our political discussion. Admittedly, it can make for entertaining reading. And that’s part of the problem. The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Ann Coulter, Hannity and Colmes and the whole pundit menagerie have learned that they way they get the gigs and then make the money they do is by being outrageous, over the top. The need to entertain and the commercial nature of our political discussion has pushed us into a mode of talking to each other that is rude, angry, disrespectful, and downright ugly.
My point here is not to call for an end to it, as much as I would like to. It is to raise the question about the style and tone to adopt in a blog or in a response to those who are writing blogs against you. On the one hand, the bland, legalese, pr-polished corporate speak will get your groans and no credibility among those far too accustomed to overheated rhetoric. On the other hand, to jump full tilt into the gritty and ugly language of the blog world just doesn’t feel right either. Reminds me of the old saying I keep repeating: when you wrestle in the mud with a pig, you both get dirty but the pig enjoys it.