Nothing get's my blood flowing like a big release of a major CAD program. I went across the country to see one. It was great stuff. Too much stuff. Drinking from a fire hose, as people are fond of saying these days. But I asked a lot of questions. I took a few pictures. I scribbled like mad, hoping I'd be able to decipher my scrawl on the flight home. I needn't have worried. I was permitted to publish nothing.
Nada. Zip. Naught. Blank Bubkus.
My press contact told me the information was embargoed, a fancy way of saying "You're gagged." Damn! That explains why the web has been strangely devoid of any information about this great new release, though I knew from Tweets that many had preceded me. I might have taken consolation that at least I was not alone, but I was chafing under my own constraints. I had an evening and a transcontinental flight I could have used for a really good article, or more likely, a few blog posts. Back at the office, I was going to have a hundred things that will take precedence. I know my notes will be lost under piles on my desk... or on the floor. Yeah, I'm not proud of my office neatness. Or of my memory. "We're not releasing this until September 1," says my press contact. That might as well be September 1, next year, I think.
In the old days (remember print magazines?), this was the way it was done. It worked. The time between seeing the product and assembling an article was time to write, edit, rewrite, ask for fact checks, illustrations, confer with staff, etc. and put together a well researched, well considered piece. The pressure was off as everyone was given the same ebargo date so no rush to file the story. But this is the age of Twitter, Facebook, blogs. Information is not considered, much less processed or beautified. It is, I hate to say, thrown up. The first one with a Tweet and TwitPic wins.
So that's why bloggers had only been posting about their flights, hotels, drinking beers, etc. Whereas I was only chafing, I imagine they practically exploded from the pressure: all those wonderful features they were hearing about before any one else, at the ground zero of company headquarters, listening to the guys who made it. But holster those smartphones, please, and come out with your gags on.
Press embargoes need to just go away. They may have had their place at one time. Nowadays, progressive companies have learned to take advantage of the freedom of information, the excitement of something new and the willingness of people to tell about it.