The List

With the year winding down it’s that time of year – list season.  Top XX blog to follow in the new year, Top twitter users you should be paying attention to, Top New York canines who tweet about music you should follow.


Now being on a well curated list is exciting – a new audience finds your message and you can reach more people – both good things. Assuming you respect the person making the list all the better.

Now here’s the thing about making and building a list, and it’s based on a lesson my college newspaper boss told me during a period when we were having production issues (the images were constantly sub-par) – “Would you want your headshot printed if it came out like that?”  Do you want those on your list to be proud to be on the list?  If your list is of sub-par quality (by whatever standard you set) those who do belong there question whether they really want to be on it to begin with.

Consider, for example, this list.  It purports to list the Top Social Media Firms in NYC Who Have PR Public Relations Background. Forget for a moment that if it’s “firms” it should have been firms “that Have PR…” and the redundancy of “PR Public Relations.”  The post itself actually states that the list creators have “picked a list of 100 Top NYC Social Media Pros known who come with classical big picture public relations experience.”  So it’s a badly named list, but that’s forgivable.

The real problem lies deeper within.

I didn’t delve into any of these folks’  content or influence (using any measuring stick of any sort) to determine if they’re “worthy” to be on the list – that didn’t concern me.  I just read their bios, reproduced on the blog itself, for my ‘research.’  Theoretically no more than someone compiling the list would do.  All in, the entire review took under 5 minutes (so the numbers may actually be higher, particularly as I was working from a printout while afk) . Here’s what I found:

Of the 100 (I’m assuming they got that part right – I didn’t count) Twitter accounts of “100 Top NYC” SM pros with PR experience:

  • Two (2) are not PR pros – they’re students (not that students can’t be cool and all…)
  • Eight (8) are not in NYC – And yes – I’m including those in New Jersey and the outer boroughs as NYC.  What I don’t count – Albany, Rochester, Boston, Providence, Syracuse and Sweden.
  • Five (5) are not PR people – I am including anyone on the “push” side of communications as PR – whether that’s social media, marketing, advertising, etc.  What am I not including as PR? Recruiters, Bloggers (even if they blog about social media – sorry Cashmore), IT guys (even if it’s for a PR firm).  And in case you’re wondering – the “pull” side of communications would be the fourth estate.  Yeah, they’re terms of my own creation to my knowledge.

Are these big numbers? Certainly not.  Would I want to be on this list? actually.

The point?

If you’re holding yourself out there as a person/company that should be considered a leader in their field, shouldn’t your product (to the extent possible) be as bulletproof as possible, rather than Swiss-cheese-like (i.e. full of holes)?  I would hope so.  Could an eight-grader have looked at this list and figured out who wasn’t in NYC? Who wasn’t in PR?  Sadly – yes.

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