Change The World, Don't Pretend You Have.
The revelation of the PR manoeuverings that were occurring behind the scenes when a Wired reporter was researching a piece (on the new open blogging culture at Microsoft) is no surprise. People are still trying to control the conversation - indeed the whole PR industry has a vested interest in so doing.
The crucial passage from the memo that has been revealed by Chris Anderson is that detailing the key messages that their strategy wanted the article to describe. These were:
• Microsoft’s culture is highly focused on community and creating opportunities to connect with its customers. Projects like Channel 9 and 10 are innovative examples of efforts across the company to better engage with our community, whether it be developers, customers or simply people who love technology.
• Microsoft’s community efforts give customers greater insight into what is going on with key technologies, as well as provide a vehicle for direct and deep interactive conversations.
• Blogging at Microsoft is more than the work of one individual. It’s a collective effort of thousands of employees, who together make up a network that reaches a global community of millions.
Heart-swelling stuff isn't it? And it may indeed be true. But the point is that you facilitate the conversation, you don't now control it absolutely and the corollary of this is that, if your key messages are exaggerated, you will be found out. So the way forward is to make it utterly apparent that you have changed the world.
People really notice when their world changes. They also recognise spin.