Strumpette has thin skin; gives me the treatment

Chris Clarke wrote something in the Blog Herald that Strumpette didn’t like. In a post in the Blog Herald on Friday, Chris wrote,

The PR community online is still growing. According to our official scorekeeper Constantin Basturea, the community almost doubled in 2006 to 630. Terrific, right? One would hope that with more PR blogs, the industry would be increasing it’s awareness of social media. More PR bloggers means more individuals telling their friends and colleagues, “Check out my blog.” Sadly, the second most-trafficked PR blogs is the self-appointed potty-mouthed ombudswoman of the PR community, Strumpette. Even when we do good, the bad stuff seems to stand out above the rest.

Well, it seems that Strumpette, used to visiting criticism on others, has a pretty thin skin. Chris’ post is time-stamped 11:00 January 12. At 11:15, my telephone rang and the first words I heard were, “Joe, it’s Brian Connolly.” Brian wanted to complain to me about what Chris had written. You see, I’m Chris’ employer and Brian felt that I was responsible for Chris’ scepticism about the merits of Strumpette.

Brian and I had a good long conversation. He made his points. Articulately. With some passion. He argued the importance in society of dissension. I listened and did not disagree with that. But I did tell him that I have a problem with people who attack the character of others from behind a veil of anonymity.

We had a good conversation that gave me some points to consider, but that did not persuade me to endorse Strumpette’s approach.

Well, a few minutes ago, I felt the fury of a Strumpette scorned. One of the anonymous Strumpettes has just written an attack piece targeted squarely at me, my firm and our approach to social media.

None of us will find total agreement with everything we say. There is merit in thinking through and expressing ideas and having them challenged. That’s how we learn. That’s how we move forward. That’s how we grow.

Social media provides channels through which new voices may be heard. Some will be intelligent and perceptive. Some will entertain. Some will educate. Others will seek to titillate and to appeal to baser instincts.

So, I’ve just had my Strumpette moment. It’s not nice. I have some scratches.

Time to move on.

  • Joe,

    It is not an “attack piece.” Claiming you are a victim is weak weak weak. You, by your omission, brought this on yourself. That’s a fact.

    Listen, when you have juniors speak on behalf of your company and they say stupid and inexperienced stuff… ultimately that’s your fault. We are communications managers not facilitators of Corporate Tourettes. We are paid to think before we talk. That’s the lesson here. Regrettably, it sounds like you are committed to leaving yourself and your firm open to criticism and ridicule. Okay.


    – Amanda

  • So much for just being “the tech guy.”

  • Strumpette is a disease. I thought the blog was funny for the first couple of weeks, but I soon realized that she/he had absolutely nothing to add other than snotty, bitchy comments from the safety of a pen name.

    Chris may be a junior, but at least he posts his opinions under his real name instead of a cowardly facade.

  • Ryan,

    Indeed, I am dis-eased. I/we have the common sense and character enough to admit that the current state of PR is appalling. I find those, as in Joe here regrettably, that blithely promote crap totally distressing.

    – Amanda

    PS For the record, literal minds are the ones that cannot fathom our anonymity or the issues we address. Apparently, Ryan, you are among them. We are sorry for you.

  • As is so often the case, those who dish it out can’t take it.

  • Oh Alice… Joe repositioned the issue to save face and you bought it.

    Apparently, you did not read the article. It’s not about my sensibilities. It’s about Corporate Tourettes. It is about a supposed communications pro that allows, even promotes, a junior junior to speak on behalf of his company. That’s dumb. It is also an important issue.

    Lastly, read first, then comment.

    – Amanda

  • Without getting into the he-said, she-said (quite literally in this thread) of it all, I think the “attack piece” in question does raise an important issue of representation and appearances.

    Most social media types would agree that blogs and the like represent the opinions of the writer whose name appears at the bottom, not the company that provides the soapbox. Much like a newspaper columnist, the implication is that “the opinions represent those of the individual and may not represent the opinions of the parent company.”

    However, there’s a reason that little disclaimer appears on DVDs with commentary now, or that Antonia Zerbisas’ blog on the Toronto Star site contains countless references to the Star, “which owns this blog but doesn’t own me.”

    Not everyone makes the distinction as clearly as we do.

    For regular consumers of these media, the constant repetition of these disclaimers seems, well, redundant, but they serve a purpose. It’s something of a semantic debate, I’m sure, but it’s one worth having.

    As noted by several commenters in an earlier thread about the takeup of social media on a grander scale, it’s easy to get caught up in the accepted rules of social media. For the most part, the people reading and commenting on this blog will agree that blogs are the expression of the individual not the company. But there may be something to be said about reiterating that distinction sometimes.

  • Hi Joe,

    I agree with your comments. That’s the reason that my blog carries a disclaimer, “This blog site is published by and reflects the personal views of its author(s).” I want people to know that I stand behind my comments personally.

    Of course, the company is a reflection of the people who work at it. So, while people (including me) are not speaking for the company, we cannot avoid linkages being made.

  • So Joe, you are claiming that you do not speak for your company.

    Classic. I rest my case.

    – Amanda

    PS When I think about quitting Strumpette every so often; that’s why. The insanity and naivety of your statement Joe is absolutely incurable. I am sorry.

  • Brian / Strumpette,

    Be fair. Read my whole comment. You misconstrued what I said.

  • Joe,

    Excuse me, this sentence doesn’t change in any context: “So, while people (including me) are not speaking for the company, we cannot avoid linkages being made.” You apparently believe that there are moments where you do not represent the company that bears your name. That’s nonsense. So wonder young Chris is confused.

    – Amanda

    PS For the record, Brian recused himself from this exchange.

  • Sean Reid

    I find it stunning that Literati Group would knowlingly endorse and support the deceptive and cowardly practices of Strumpette. Any management consultant or professional communicator worth a nickel would know that transparency is the number one value of effective post-SARBOX business communication.

    Why should any of us pay any attention to the “wisdom” offered by Literati Group and Strumpette, when they have consistently demonstrated woeful ignorance of the most rudimentary principles of commuinication?

  • Brian / Strumpette,

    You’ve made your points. I’ve made my points. I hear you. We don’t agree. ‘Nuff said. Time to move on.

  • Sean,

    Here we go… when your argument is weak, attack the messenger. And when the dissenter has anticipated that kind of literal-minded thinking and as such, comments anonymously, throw the “transparency” card. That’s total crap. For the record, the issue being discussed is Corporate Tourettes and whether Joe speaks for his own company. If you have nothing to offer in that regard, kindly shut up!

    With regard to woeful ignorance of the principles of communications, we at Strumpette will throw down with ANYONE in the business. That’s any time. Name it.

    Lastly, what pray tell do you think the Literati Group has to do with Strumpette? For the record, nothing. We are hosted by WePublishing, Inc. But also for the record, they have zero control or influence over what we say or publish.

    – Amanda

  • Bob

    I find it somewhat less than credible to argue that a person (Joe T or anyone else) is inextricably linked to his or her company and that every word written or uttered is a word on the company’s behalf.

    Would we expect that everything Jim Lehrer says at any time is a statement on behalf of PBS? Or Rush Limbaugh of the Infinity broadcast group, or whoever he blathers for? Or Howard Stern for Sirius?

    I am reminded of a Stephen King quote to the effect that sometimes he writes something just to figure out what his opinion was; he didn’t know it ’til he wrote it down.

    I think that blogs are often used for this purpose, and I am quite happy to let them be so. In any case, I think that Joe’s last response is a sound one. He’s made his points; Strumpette has made its; let’s all move on.

  • Hmm. This seems like a lot of inside baseball. Not being current on PR industry politics, I’m wondering why, if Strumpette isn’t connected to the Literati Group, Brian would be calling Joe about an issue between Strumpette and Chris Clarke?

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  • Dave

    “I’m wondering why, if Strumpette isn’t connected to the Literati Group, Brian would be calling Joe about an issue between Strumpette and Chris Clarke?”

    Quite simple – because Brian Connolly, Amanda Chapel, Strumpette, and anyone/thing else attached to Brian are all one and the same.

    Well documented records of this date back as far as 1997 when he tried being some Abbie chick (and likely further than that if you REALLY wanted to waste a day looking for Brian’s past yet similar exploits). Like the quintessential school-yard bully he thrives on this behavior. Too bad too – if Brian actually put as much effort into being productive as he does in his current behavior he could actually BE somebody, and not a figment of his own imagination.