Don BartholomewFrom Katie Paine’s Facebook Page on June 2, 2015:

“The measurement world lost one of its pillars today. Don Bartholomew was an amazing man, and I am very grateful that I was privileged to work with him. His legacy is a PR industry that is infinitely better, more accountable, and more professional because of his contributions.

“His efforts on behalf of the IPR Measurement Commission, the The Conclave on Social Media Measurement Standards, and countless other volunteer efforts that were helped by his brains and energy have changed the Public Relations field forever. Most importantly, he was able to make change and get support for his ideas with an unending supply of grace, humor, wit and kindness. I’m grateful to have worked with him and been inspired by him.

“He will be forever missed but never forgotten.”

So wrote Katie Paine on her Facebook Page earlier this week, when Don Bartholomew passed away. Katie captured what many of us who work in the PR field, and who have a passion for metrics, are feeling. Incredible sadness at the loss of a remarkable and tireless proponent for excellence in our field but, more importantly, a remarkably kind and good person.

I got to know Don a few years ago, after I’d become a “social media” person. His blog, MetricsMan, was a must-read for anyone trying to understand and implement best practices in PR measurement – not just because of how articulate and gifted a writer Don was, but because of how hard it made you think. He didn’t hold back, either. And the harder he made you think, the more it inspired you to do good work, and be at least half as smart as him.

Don was a guest on #measurePR many, many times. When I was looking for old posts on WUL that reference him, I got 13 pages of results. Thirteen! That’s how impactful and insightful he was; that you couldn’t help but say, when you came up with an idea, “I wonder what Don thinks of this.” Of course, by the time you got around to framing your point of view, you’d find that he’d already posited his view on MetricsMan, so there went that.

The Measurati

PRNews holds an annual measurement conference in DC, where the “measurement mafia,” as I like to call them (us), all descend in one fell swoop. Back in 2012, I wasn’t speaking at the event but I knew they’d be there, so off I went to meet up with them, so that we could have a drink together. As we were walking from the conference venue to wherever it was we’d decided to go, Don regaled me with stories of his hotel room and other sundries that is the stuff life is made of, and I remember laughing almost the entire way to the restaurant.

As we sat down and arranged ourselves around the lounge table, I insisted we take a photo of the Measurement Mafia. Don looked at me and said, “Mafia? We’re the Measurati.” And to this day, whenever us measurement-type people are together, we’ll hail each other as the Measurati.

The #measurePR #measurati

I’m so very, very glad I took this photograph, even though my iPhone camera sucked. It’s one of my favorite memories of all of us, and of Don; he’s second from right, in the sport coat over the dark blue shirt.

I last saw Don when we were both speaking at a Ragan Communications-hosted event, right here in DC, in 2013. I’m not sure exactly when his health began failing, but I remember him not being able to be a guest on #measurePR a few times last year, because of health issues. I didn’t probe further, figuring he’d tell me whatever he wanted me to know. And after he couldn’t make it a second time, I didn’t push further, since I figured he had much more important things to deal with than a Twitter chat.

I didn’t know Don well, but am grateful that I got to know him at all, when so many practitioners didn’t… and never will. And if you didn’t know him, even by reputation, know this: the Barcelona Principles and AMEC’s valid measurement framework that are making the rounds? Don was instrumental in those efforts.

Don’s kindness, sharp intellect, and sardonic sense of humor will always stay with me. As far as I’m concerned, he will always be the Godfather of the Measurati.

R.I.P.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke