Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Economist experiment

This is a story within a story. I received an email this morning from Charlotte Smith, Press Officer at The Economist magazine in London, England. Here is the intro:

"Hi Michael,

The reason we're approaching you in particular is that we found your great post on the death of newspapers. We are doing a PR experiment. As well as getting in touch with main stream media with this article we thought we'd approach the bloggers and give you the scoop on it as well.

This week one of our journalists has written a very amusing article on air travel and what your in-flight announcement should REALLY say! So you can scoop us on it, you can criticise it, do what you want with it, or even just ignore it." .....

My initial scepticism was alleviated when I emailed Charlotte back and asked a couple of questions to ensure this was an authentic. Apparently I was one of a dozen bloggers asked to take part in the experiment.

My delayed reaction was a serious "wow". Being a long time reader of The Economist I am really intrigued and impressed at the notion of using the blogosphere as a test-bed. Especially in the way they have reached out.

Sure, it feeds my ego to know that one of my favourite magazines has asked me to participate in this little social media and PR experiment. I must say that I really respect that they seem to have a grasped how to engage folks like myself in a conversation where the outcome for them could go one of several ways.

It is almost too transparent. The options of writing someting positive, negative or simply ignoring the opportunity were interesting. Unfortunately, there is no time today to put any commentary on here about the article. I will definitely provide an unbiased review of the article tomorrow.

The bottom line is that this tactic worked with me. So, am I a sucker? Am I part of an elite group? Not sure yet. Let's see how this plays out.

Charlotte, if you read this (and I suspect you will) I'd love for you to leave a comment and let others know how this idea was sparked and executed. Enquiring minds want to know.

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At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. It all began with the article...

Its witty tone shows a side to The Economist that current readers will know and love but non-readers may not be familiar with.

It has been a pleasure to see your reaction, hope you enjoyed the read.

- Charlotte

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Terry Fallis said...

Fascinating Michael. Great that you earned an invitation. It speaks well of you and your blog. Perhaps David and I will kick this around on Inside PR. I liked Charlotte's open and direct approach. No pretence, no spin, no hyperbole. Unadulterated transparency...Works for me...


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