Better late than never?

An office emergency and nasty traffic caused me to miss half of the formative meeting of the Social Media Club about which I wrote yesterday. But what I did observe was instructive in seeing how ideas — in this case the so-called new media press release — gain currency.

Tom (SiliconValleyWatcher) Foremski launched this idea in a posting titled “Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!”

That title suggests lesson one: when seeking attention in a busy world, moderation drools and hyperbole rules. (Unrelated, perhaps, except in my mind is this anecdote — yesterday I observed one of my more intellectual workmates watching a short video, of a toilet-trained cat doing number two. This is the most prevalent form of Internet culture. Less than three minutes of scatalogical silliness that you can now share with your dozen closest friends.)

Secondly, the small group that gathered for the SMC kickoff were predominantly folks in the PR industry with an interest in this new media press release. That suggests rule two: people aggregate around ideas they can use in some professional or passionate way (as in hobby) and not for the mere thrill of intellectual discovery. Who has time!

I heard some very focused and cogent suggestions from Shannon Clark who I had not previously encountered but whose capsule bio explains why this then-stranger’s remarks immediately resonated with my own unarticulated gut instincts.

Keep everything simple. Automate everthing you can. Build tiny useful things and throw them out there. If they get used they will grow. If not, well then they were destined to die, die, die!

This is a simple but profound lesson that all organizers will forget at their peril. Thanks for these reminders, Shannon.

One last thought, only because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

The new media press release is not of particular interest to me because, as a mass media journalist by day, my only press release problem is getting too many. But as I mentioned last night, this could be very useful to bloggers who are looking to add content to their sites, and to news makers who have every reason to attempt to bypass jaded gate-keepers like me to reach their publics directly.

For instance, is a new product release news? Well it certainly is interesting to a lot of folks but that doesn’t mean it should be filtered through a mass media organization and passed through the brain of someone like me — who gets paid a salary and has a health plan. After all, my teenaged sons know more about new gizmos than me.

Yes, I realize this would — in some ways — disintermediate incumbent media. Or rather it would force journalism to shimmy further up the pole when it comes to adding value and judgment to what passes for “news.” But that’s a rant for another day.

I’ll leave it to organizer Chris Heuer to talk about the earlier portion of the meeting, which may have discussed something like a blogger code of behavior. (I think Lisa Chung of the Society for Professional Journalists and other credits was at the meeting, but I couldn’t find a picture of her this morning and, shame on me, I didn’t write down her name last night.)