PR Training

How Long Could Craig Newmark Go Offline? (Hint: Not very)

Before his General Session on Sunday, Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, who now serves as a customer-service representative for the site, spoke for a few minutes with Tactics and The Strategist Online. Here’s a quick excerpt of that conversation:

On going cold turkey from social media for a 24-hour period:
Oh, there’s no way I could go offline that long. (Mike Smith, CEO of MSBD, Newmark’s public affairs counsel, laughed and interjected, “he couldn’t go 25 minutes!”) There’s no way I could stay offline for longer than the time of a flight. My job is customer service right now. I’m looking forward to Internet access being on planes. My life will be easier that way. I won’t have a big backlog of e-mails waiting for me. I do work every day. I stay connected as much as reasonable. And that works for me.

On the appeal of Twitter and microblogging:
It’s an intimate form of communications. It’s real time to a lot of people. It forces you to be brief. And I believe pretty strongly that brevity is the soul of wit. You can just be talking about whatever you feel like. I’m fond of bad bird haiku.

On the appeal of brevity and simplicity:
[Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and I] believe in keeping things simple and fast. Get to the point. Don’t waste people’s time.

On getting the boss or client to understand brevity and simplicity:
Persuasion is not my strong suit. I would remind the boss how they want to get something done in a hurry and not have their time wasted. Sometimes less is more.

John Elsasser, editor-in-chief, PR Tactics (PRSA’s award-winning monthly newspaper).  The publication provides PR professionals with practical how-to information that will help improve their job performance and advance their careers.  The Strategist, PRSA’s quarterly print publication, examines changing concepts and occasionally challenges current wisdom about the practice of public relations.

For coverage on the PRSA 2008 International Conference, visit

About the author

John Elsasser

Leave a Comment