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Less PR, More Flame Wars

graphBack in the day, newsworthy meant people did something and then they told people about it and from that, press sprang forth.

Today, in a world of navel-gazing bloggers and social media pundits, the key to becoming newsworthy is to enrage these bloggers and pundits enough to become worthy of being punned and blogged.  Voila, instant news manufacturing.

If Microsoft needs to activate the community, all they need to do is call John Gruber and say, “Windows will always pwn Macs” and they have instant articles being generated about whether that is true.  From the initial flame by Gruber to retaliatory responses and back and forth, the media consumes it.

A perfect case study is, a sweet product a buddy of mine built for turning Windows 7 boxes into Wi-fi hot spots.  Rather than a traditional press release, he wrote a story for slashdot that implied that Windows 7 was pretty sweet because his product was available.  It quickly became one of the most popular articles on Slashdot, not because it was about his product, but because people on Slashdot love to talk about whether Windows sucks or not and here was another custom-built forum.  The copy was written perfectly to activate and coalesce opinions on both sides and generate the buzz products need.  This news generation by creating reactions is part and parcel of the new medium.

This is also another example of an old axiom: No one cares about your start-up, so figure out how to relate your start-up to the big companies that people actually do care about and create a story from that.

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