How will I sleep tonight? I have a bad habit of waking at four in the morning, seven, eight, whenever, rolling to the computer and logging on to Strumpette. The rare times when the server has been down I get a hollow feeling – forced to consider how diminished life would be without Strumpette. This time it’s not a server glitch. It seems like Strumpette is down for the count. Amanda Chapel, whoever she is, resigned today, Columbus Day. A sign of discovery and a new world, or simply the end of a web experiment that flamed up and petered out? Who knows. The future, like Strumpette itself, is murky. I get that sinking feeling.
I first posted about Strumpette on PRBlogNews 3/6/07. Here’s an excerpt:
… Strumpette really defines and domiantes its own space. Strumpette is a free fire zone where you want to spend time. That in itself is incredibly valuable and a virtually unique experience – to want to spend time at a blog. I am a natural speed reader and the Internet lends itself to the quick consumption of information and the proliferation of blogs spewing nonsense on the web is dispiriting. Strumpette is like The New Yorker of PR blogs – something brilliant is going on here even if you don’t know what it is.
Strumpette was a revelation, proof that there was intelligent life in PR. It was proof that artistry, creativity and spontaneity do not have to be abandoned when entering the toxic gates of the PR business.
I posted my first Week in Review on Strumpette on April 30, 2007, my last one yesterday. Recently, I felt like I was just beginning to hit a comfortable stride. Also, the posts on Strumpette in the last couple of weeks were some of the best ever. On the edge. On the news. Coming from many perspectives. Insightful. Beautifully crafted. Courageous. It was true last March as it was last week – if you came to Strumpette you came heavy or you got smacked down. We lost a lot today.
Why was Strumpette an important era in PR? Let me count the ways:
Writing: The writing on Strumpette was some of the best on the web and certainly the best writing by far that the PR business has ever seen or likely deserves. A good deal of credit for that goes to Brian Connolly, who has a keen nose for news and a keener sense for developing the story that should be written, not necessarily the one that people think they want. Give the audience what they want but not how they expect it, is a maxim of successful screenwriting. It was true of Strumpette.
Design: The design made you want to spend time there, made it okay to read longer pieces, was easy on the eye and was constructed with impeccable taste. The fact that there was handcrafted design, and a sense of style, made it unusual. Black and white in a kodachrome world made Strumpette new, in a traditional sort of way. All Brian Connolly.
Anonymity: Who was Amanda Chapel? Did it matter? Strumpette was satire, mostly, and the issues raised were more important than the true identity of the person raising them. Anonymity made for intrigue and levels of meaning hidden between the lines.
It’s sad to think of Strumpette in the past tense. Can Strumpette be rebornĀ in one permutation or another? Is there a need, a real desire for a PR forum that encourages incendiary thought, that challenges convention and demands accountability? Or is this the end, my friend?