I already overuse the word “conversation”. I frequently use it in my preferred short definition of Web 2.0 or social media: “People having conversations online.” Indeed, I repeated this in a presentation I gave to the Kent IoD marketing group yesterday, and I frequently talk about exchanges on Twitter and blogs as “conversations”. Now it seems my professional body, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, is set to add to my use of the term.
Via a tweeted link this morning, I learned that the CIPR is to add a social media platform, “The Conversation”, to its own website next week (Monday, 11 April’s launch coincides with a CIPR social media conference – which that I can’t attend, partly due to the costs involved for a small consultancy and partly due to a client commitment). Having relaunched its website ten months ago, the CIPR is set to start aggregating content, with permission, from its members and from other sources of PR news and comment, in the UK and overseas.
Encouragingly, the CIPR is also doing some blogger relations to encourage existing PR bloggers, like me, to start fuelling that conversation. Perhaps because of my active involvement in last year’s ‘Social Summer’ events, I got a personalised email from the CIPR’s interim PR and marketing manager Claire Wheatcroft urging me to write about The Conversation, talking up the opportunities:
“Syndicating your personal or company blog couldn’t be easier, allowing the wider PR community to find your content, find your personal, business and consultancy profiles, and respond to your news and points of view. Everyone is welcome to register themselves and their organisation.”
I often share blog content. Indeed, I sometimes cross-post relevant articles between my two main blogs (for example, posts about how construction IT businesses are using social media), and I have set up feeds from my blogs to add content to LinkedIn and to various Ning-based communities, including an IT community run by the Institution of Civil Engineers (I learned on Friday that my posts was almost the only regularly updated content on that community, which is about to re-invigorated by a working party of which I am a member).
How will The Conversation work in practice though? My PR blog posts – somewhat sporadic of late – are usually quite focused on my target market interests (essentially, the niche B2B world of architecture, engineering, construction and related sectors, and its use of PR, marketing and social media), and, while I am happy for content to be aggregated by the CIPR, how useful will other people find my posts? Will we be able to filter content so that we can quickly find news and views relevant to our particular professional needs? Moderation? Will we be able to easily bookmark content we like, perhaps creating our own RSS feeds of useful contributors? How will CIPR’s local or sectoral interest groups – like CAPSIG (where I am a committee member) – be able to benefit? All will, I hope, be revealed on Monday….