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Some press regarding Samhuinn [Nov. 4th, 2009|10:06 pm]
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A few brief notes.

Disclaimer: My views are not that of Beltane Fire Society, thank you!

Google News search gives;

Beltane good way to mark the coming of winter days

Sacrificing clarity for an awful pun with the headline there. Some unfortunately incorrect statements which handily come in order of ‘wut?’; “stilt-walkers dressed as crows and wolves, among other predatory animals”, “The Cailleach, who embodies the Winter aspect”, “The festival is believed to be based on pagan celebrations which predate the Celtic culture”

The comments on the article being evidence of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (protip; typing “fuckwad theory” into [Firefox's] address bar and hitting enter gets you straight there).

Revellers join Samhuinn fun

Brief and generally correct, apart from the “ghastly ghouls and demons” in the first paragraph which could have been averted if the author had searched their own news archives for “samhuinn”.

Celebrate ancient traditions with Samhuinn festival, while coming from a PR style perspective, is much better thought out.

Until, that is, one gets to “With the festival ending in a dazzling firework display at West Parliament Square, the Edinburgh sky will be lit up, offering spectacular sights for local and tourists – including those who choose to rent a castle in Scotland – alike.” In parsing that sentence, I started out thinking “oh cripes, they’ve heard there will be flares and have decided to apply artistic license and spin the facts to make it sound a better report, ‘cos, like, well, who’s gonna check?’”, then I got to “including those who choose to rent a castle in Scotland” and the WUT kicked in.

It continues “However, with much of the celebrations taking place outside, visitors may want to ensure they bring hats, scarves and other warm clothes into their Scottish holiday homes to keep the chill away.” and “Once the procession is over, visitors may find that opting to stay in a self catering castle gives them the chance to carry on the new year celebrations in style before taking in everything else this stunning city has to offer.”

Then it clicked – the phrases “rent a castle in Scotland”, “Scottish holiday homes”, “self catering castle” are links to scottscastles.com. This, if you’re not familiar with some of the antics folk get up to in the domain of PR, is astroturfing, and in this kind of instance, an attempt to, by writing a blog/forum/other post that seems to be grassroots but that is not, trick Google’s PageRank algorithm into thinking that the linked-to website has more people honestly referencing it online than there actually are. This one is a more sophisticated and “above board” than a fake blog in that it’s within the “Travel Partners” section of travelbite.co.uk and does actually note “Scotts Castle Holidays” in the top left, though it’s still pretty sneaky and I wonder how much travelbite gets for such articles.

Also, it notes “Visitors will also find that hot chocolate and mulled wine stalls which line the streets should help them to stave off the cold”, which, while greatly grander than the reality of the situation, was correct in some regard – a thank you to the Edinburgh City Mission for providing free hot drinks to our punters as I’m sure some eedjits will have come out without forethought to the situation they’d be putting themselves in, i.e., outside for an hour and a half at this time of year. That comes from the top of my secular humanist heart rather than the bottom for your trying to convert folk, but hey, the world isn’t black and white. Your PR was “better” than previous Samhuinn Fire Festivals, although less amusing.

Crossposted from my blog.
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Comments:
From: golly_goth
2009-11-04 11:43 pm (UTC)

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That is fairly "wut?" and a very good giggle :)
From: golly_goth
2009-11-04 11:45 pm (UTC)

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I especially loved the idea of Samhuinn finishing with a fireworks display you can watch from a rented Castle. I was a bit, "huh, are they letting out Edinburgh Castle?" until the penny dropped.
[User Picture]From: spacelem
2009-11-05 09:04 am (UTC)

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Some amazingly awful comments there from the trolls.