PR Lessons from the Emily Gould Cover Story Saga


Being the last of the blogs to write about the NY Times magazine cover story penned by former Gawker, and current Galleycat blogger Emily Gould, we’re taking a different tack.

Are you in PR? You have something in common with the tat-clad blogstress. If you have ever emailed a blogger, put your name on a press release, or blogged under your own name you are in a sense, a public figure. It’s an important change (and not all that new) in our industry and it’s critical to understand it.

The new rules of engagement are there are no rules. A blogger or even a mainstream journalist can paste your name in a story whether you like it or not. This is a good thing as long as you know when and where to respond. The best thing to do now is to read the classic Fast Company story “The Brand Called You” and start gently steering your own brand toward the type of PR you want to do.

To illustrate the spectrum of personal exposure online, Gould relates a story illustrated by cutlery on a table, where people without Google traces are the fork on one end, and the ubiquitous Julia Allison are the spoon at the other extreme. It’s getting harder for PR people to be the fork. The full excerpt of the example is pasted after the jump:

The table we were sitting at was wide, maybe four feet across, and made of planks like a picnic table. I positioned my fork all the way on the left side of the table. “So here’s the spectrum of Internet self-exposure,” I told her. “And here’s you. You’re the fork.” Then I put my spoon at the right end of the table. “And here’ at the other end of the spectrum…Julia Allison.”

“So where are you on the spectrum?”

“Well, I used to be here,” I said, moving a toast crust a few inches to the left of my plate, the table’s midpoint. “And now I’m here.” I put the crust halfway between my plate and Julia.

Farrin looked up at me, concerned. “That’s not good. I think you should start moving closer to the plate.”

Instead, though, I kept moving blithely closer to the spoon.