Web purists vs. web realists

March 10, 2012

People who may be regarded as experts in online communications often fall within one of two categories: web purists and web realists.

How do they differ?

Purists insist on intricate strategy before any tactics are put in place, realists are a little more flexible.

Purists have a holy grail: engagement, two-way conversation and community. Realists aren’t afraid to say, let’s tell a story first, we’ll converse later on.

Realists will get people to play around as a means to get them accustomed to using the tools. Purists do not let people anywhere near the tools unless they’re fully with the programme (and a strategy is in place.)

Purists are right; I know theirs is best practice. In future, they’ll rule the roost. I confess I’m a realist though. I can feign being a purist and I can do whatever they can, promise. And in many cases, the purists’ approach is already viable i.e. when dealing with organisations or individuals that get it and/or are determined approach digital properly. Having spent years struggling to get online comms off the ground at a variety of organisations, I think a little realism is needed sometimes, however much purists remain loath to admit it.

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