Michelle Sullivan Communications

The 502nd mile mark – when moving from fifth into third gear makes sense

This blog is shifting gears.

When Jack Layton passed away, I decided to postpone publication of this blog post to pay tribute to him. The positive reaction that my 500th blog post garnered reinforced the notion that social media in general and blogs in particular are a wonderful way for me, as an individual, to connect in meaningful ways with other members of my tribe. Thank you for everyone who took the time to write and speak to me about what I’d written.

In that 500th blog post, I alluded to the fact that I was going to change the direction this blog has been taking for the past 4 years. When I first launched this social-media-for-PR blog in January of 2007, there were only 2 other PR bloggers in Quebec. I had been excited about the possibilities social media opened up for our industry and our clients for a few years by then, and was eager to share and discuss my discoveries with my PR tribe.

Mission accomplished. Far from single-handedly, mind you! Along with many other early adopters and social media zealots, I’ve managed to convince a colleague or two to take a look at social media for PR and I’m pleased with the inroads that have been made. We’ve been joined by the industry mainstream and social media is taking root in the Quebec PR landscape. There now are dozens of Quebec-based blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Google+ profiles and LinkedIn Groups – not to mention Third Tuesdays, Camps and other events – available to Quebec PR types hungry to stay abreast of the latest developments in social media.

I’ve written hundreds of blog posts presenting social media case studies, tools and best practices for PR professionals. Now, many more voices have joined and there’s a wealth of information out there. It’s fantastic.

And it’s why I’m now able to shift gears.

I’m going to start concentrating less on the tools and innovations, and more on the impact social media and the Internet in general is having on society, on tribes, on individuals. You’ll see less of this and more of this and of this. And you’ll probably hear more about tribes than you ever thought possible. I may just have to rename this blog …

I also intend to focus more on the public affairs side of PR, moving away from where social media seems to have found an easy and natural fit – marketing communications. So no more brand name case studies. There are other great blogs for that kind of thing. I want to take a look at how lobby groups – whether corporate or grassroots – are leveraging social media to effect political and social change.

Fifth gear: Lowest power, highest speed. Used for high speed cruising on dual carriageways, motorways and other such open roads.

Third gear: Used for driving uphill, through a hazard at speed and where a greater degree of power is needed than fourth will allow.

This blog is shifting into third gear. The hazards are greater in number, the stakes are higher. We’re talking about people’s lives and how they use social media to change the world around them.

It’s going to be a fascinating ride. And yes, I pick up hitchhikers.

These are a few of my favourite things

The other day, someone asked me to name my favourite blog. The only thing hard about that question is where to start … or maybe where to stop. I have as many favourites as I have interests.

Dear Photograph is an absolute gem. I love visiting it for its poignancy and sense of history.

With a google reader filled with social media marketing and PR blogs, it’s nice to take a breather and remember that the social web is as beautifully diverse and complex as the individuals who occupy the space.

When’s the last time you visited a blog for pleasure? Or blogged your passion (and I’m not talking about your passion for social media)