The digital landscape these days is cluttered with would-be experts around every corner and tweet. Despite the Internet’s vast capability as an information conduit, getting the “straight scoop” on just about anything these days, can be like looking for the proverbial needle. I was looking over some PR company’s most recent engagements of the digital world when I ran across a blurb characteristic of what is wrong with communication these days – twitteritis for lack of a better term. WE is disputing Hunt on the ground of “creativity?”
PRWeek, posted the all too familiar image with 197 words (title, quotes, and all), about statements made by Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s new culture secretary. What the PRW blurb is intended for, I can only speculate, but interjecting a new Waggener Edstrom’s Studio D’s digital expert John Silk in such a way is at best – funny. Okay, maybe it is a little transparent actually, but the point is both PRWeek’s digital editor Peter Hay, Silk, and WE should guard against such journalistic atrocities.
Creativity Will Prevail – In the Absence of All Else?
Beside the fact that Hunt is correct in his assessment, besides the fact that Hunt was an integral part of Profile PR (IT consultancy), and not even taking into consideration of European Internet culture, just an non-contextual plug like this is detrimental, anyone who cannot see this is either or. The UK is woefully behind in technology infrastructure, and just about everything Hunt says holds water. The opposing view from Waggerner Edstrom on this, frankly is the equivalent of a poop on twitter or worse. I quote from Silk and the article:
“While better tech certainly allows us to collaborate and deliver content in new ways, it’s the creative idea that counts. Even social media campaigns are firmly rooted in ideas, rather than technology.”
What this says, I think, is that Waggener Edstrom clients needn’t worry about IT infrastructures, they can just hook up their tin cans to WE’s creative genius and POOF! The world will come to Britain. There is nothing wrong with taking the opposing view, it is good discourse. But, when one end of the discourse clearly understands what is going on, and the other just says it’s so? The graphic below (and PDF here) illustrates the UK’s lacking broadband attributes (from 2007 but adequate). Next we will be reduced down to “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.”
Then there is the culture – something Hunt would have the edge on as well – given his education, position, and experience. Here in Germany, across the EU, and yes in the UK, there are many cultural issues which impact the creativity matrix and being wired. Ironically, the unwired nature of the EU actually gives our company an advantage – another story. But the reader should understand, just because Norway is one of the most wired per capita nations in the world, means nothing if the “surfing culture” is just not there.
Ability Does Not Negate Responsibility
Bottom line? People in different societies do not always react the same way to technology. Certainly Hunt’s observations about the UK indicate not only an IT problem, but maybe a cultural one too. Germany has some of the greatest geeks in the world, but trying to sell Internet commodities (ideas especially) the way one would in the good ole USA? Futility. The same is true for Norway, UK, France, Spain, all of the countries here. A different dynamic is in place for each one – even within the borders.
Don’t get me wrong, John Silk seems to be a highly skilled and literate expert. We have all been guilty of a little posturing here and there, it is human. Throwing in the nebulous and puffy idea of creativity however – well, that suggests a magic wand in someone’s hands. Only on the ground PR will remain where there is no sufficient conduit digitally. It’s a problem here in Germany, and in the rest of the world outside the US, China, Japan, and a very few others. Let’s not tell the people to make bricks without straw, okay? At least not for the wrong reasons. And especially not in 150 words or 140 characters.