Category Archives: Shel Holtz

What really happened at that FEMA news conference–in Philbin's words

I have commented here several times and from the beginning that the supposedly “fake” news conference FEMA conducted in October was not what was being told in the press. That it was more about politics, the politicization of government agencies, about media infotainment than many seasoned PR professionals believed. It strikes me as ironic that we who know you can’t believe what you read in the press are among the quickest to believe when it conforms to a predisposition–in this case the predisposition being that FEMA is a bad, incompetent evil agency and anyone associated with it is too.

At any rate, read (or hear ) for yourself what happened at this news conference from the fall guy himself–Pat Philbin, courtesy of this interview with Kami Huyse.

The audio feed is courtesy of Shel Holtz’s For Immediate Release.

Facebook. An addiction?

As Chip Griffin of CustomScoop points out in his comment, this switch from email to social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace is a phenomenon that Shel Holtz has been reporting on for a little while. Well, of course, if it has to do with communication on the web, few are going to take notice before Shel! I feel so out of it. I don’t have a Facebook page. But after reading this post by Michael Arrington about a Goldman Sachs employee who noted on his Facebook page that the nearly half his day he spent on Facebook was more important to him than his job, I’m almost fearful of the addictive powers of these sites.

But then, I’m from the days when I can remember an actual working Linotype machine, type was placed with wax, and if you packed a writing instrument with you, it was a slick portable typewriter. To think that email is quickly slipping into history makes me feel like I am sadly watching the last horse leave on the Pony Express.

SEC Chief Cox suggestion about blogging: tipping point for corporate blogging?

SEC Chief Christopher Cox, according to this AP story, thinks blogging would be a good form for corporations to discuss financial matters. Although the movement of companies and executives is becoming almost a flood, this kind of announcement may very well take corporate blogging to the next level.

Earlier today, I was on Shel Holtz’s blog “A Shel of my Former Self,” and read this sadly humorous account of a speaker at a conference touting the benefits of company podcasting. It demonstrates that those entering this world need to “get it” if they are not to embarrass their organizations or clients. Part of “getting it” is understanding that the blog world has an exceptionally high standard for authenticity.

Clara Potes, who commented earlier today on this blog, also makes a strong point for authenticity re the Wal-mart “flog” controversy on her blog:

So, when it comes to corporate commenting about financial matters in a way that satisfies SEC rules and the blog world, it will be an interesting show. The language has to be that of the casual blogger, commenting about the world while drinking coffee in his pjs, while the information has to be unassailable and fully legal. Seems the two worlds will have a hard time fitting together. But it will be interesting to watch.

The blog world goes round and round–Shel Holtz

About seven years ago, I was starting to think about writing a book about how the news world is changing and what it means for organizations who may suddenly find themselves in the news. I went to Amazon and bought a couple of books on the subject, including one called “Public Relations on the Net” by Shel Holtz. It was very clear that this guy was a pioneer in the sense of way out there on the edges of this new world of instant, online communication way before most people were even trying to define the terms. I emailed Shel and much to my amazement he emailed back (unlike the other author I emailed who was clearly to important to respond). Shel and I have maintained an infrequent conversation off and on since then–even having breakfast together in the Bay area.

Shel continues to pioneer. A few months ago he interviewed me on his weekly podcast called For Immediate Release. Again, I was just starting to figure out this podcast thing out and Shel and an associate, Neville Hobson, were busy putting one together on a regular schedule. (You can hear that interview here.)  Now Shel tells me that 1000 people are subscribing to his podcast and downloading it weekly. If you are in communications and have a commute where you can listen, I highly recommend the podcast. It’s at Or you can also find it on Shel’s blog: “A Shel of my  former self”.
Shel has written some of the best books on communication topics including “Corporate Conversations” about employee communication. And he is peripatetic and ubiquitous. The other day a sales manager for AudienceCentral (company which supplies online communication management applications of which I am president and founder) was making a presentation to a large oil company and there was Shel, invited in to advise them on communication issues.

Needless to say, I hold Shel in very high regard. It was no surprise to me that in Naked Conversations the authors turned to Shel as an expert on what is happening in the blog world from an organization standpoint. And it is no surprise that the next book coming from Shel will be about blogging.

What is a surprise is the very nice things he has to say about me and my book “Now Is Too Late2” in his blog. So, the blog world turns like the wheels of a bus. Thanks Shel!

Shel Holtz's book on blogging

Just read about Shel Holtz’s book on blogging:

Blogging for Business: Everything You Need to Know and Why You Should Care. Shel Holtz, Ted Demopoulos. Kaplan Publishing. 288 pages. $21.95.

The establishment of company Web logs — blogging — is an increasingly popular and effective way for businesses to convey information while attracting and engaging existing and potential customers in an informal and practical setting. Both of these books provide good discussions of existing blogs and successful — if not best — practices. Both also would serve as useful introductions if you’re unfamiliar with the subject or unsure how they would fit in with your company’s overall marketing communications strategy.

I’ve known Shel for several years, ever since I contacted him when I first started writing Now Is Too Late. Even had the pleasure of having breakfast together in San Jose area. Here’s Shel’s blog
I haven’t read his book on blogging yet but I know it is good stuff. And since he was kind enough to interview me for his podcast, I’m very happy to return the favor and plug his book.

Best of luck, Shel!