President Bill Clinton has been in a bit of a blogger firestorm this week following his camp's demand that there would be no tweeting or live blogging at his keynote session at the Dreamforce, the Salesforce.com event in a few weeks.
We reported Tuesday about an email message we received from the public relations firm representing Salesforce.com, which laid out the Clinton team's mandates.
According to people familiar with the event, it is the traditional media that Clinton wants to keep from live reporting. Tweeting is just fine for the attendees. Seems simple enough, huh? But this isn't a simple media world anymore. Everyone tweets at these kinds of keynotes. Everyone posts. What is the differentiation?
At a tech event like Dreamforce anyone may be posting, be it via Twitter, a blog, Facebook or any other means. The media blogs and so do the attendees. The lines are increasingly blurred.
Here's the text of the email that we received Tuesday from The Outcast Agency that lead to our initial coverage:
"PLEASE NOTE: President Clinton's representatives have mandated that there be absolutely no reporting during his session. That includes live blogging, Tweeting, Facebook posting or use of any other social media. We understand the inconvenience this may present, but greatly appreciate your compliance. Thank you."
People close to the event tell us that the Clinton team wanted to send this message to Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and other traditional, large media organizations. Instead, the notice went to a media pool much different than the ones of the past. It included folks like us - people who blog and tweet but have roles similar to reporters and editors in the legacy media.
We reached out to the Clinton team on Wednesday for clarification. They did not get back to us with a comment.
A Salesforcce.com spokesperson had this to say yesterday:
"We don't have any additional details to share here. This is something that Clinton's team asked us to do, and we are going to have to trust that people will comply with our request."
Cutline, a blog about the media, did talk to a Clinton spokesperson:
"A Clinton spokesperson explained to The Cutline that the event host and PR company were told that the speech would be closed press, and they took that to mean that attendees were prohibited from tweeting, live-blogging or posting on social media sites.
However, that's not the case. Although the event remains technically closed for traditional media, attendees will not be stopped from using devices for tweeting, live-blogging, posting on social media sites (or maybe just texting their friends).
So, presumably, someone could publish a blog post on a BlackBerry or write up a story based on a series of tweets or Facebook updates from the event. But traditional reporters looking for a press riser or other media setup will be out of luck, since it's technically closed press."
A closed media event is to mean that reporters are being asked not to report on what Clinton says. That's at least what people familiar with the event have to say to us. And so are bloggers part of the media or not?
Salesforce.com has no comment today but we were assured PR people will not be roaming around, looking at our screens.
It really does not matter. We will tweet, blog and otherwise do what we do when at these keynotes. And if we are told to stop, we'll tweet that, too.