'If my name's on it...'
Seth Godin is a famous blogger, running the world's most celebrated marketing blog. He also writes successful business books. If you haven't read him, you should - he always has something fresh to say, and he writes simply and effectively. His latest move is that he's hired someone to help him, which I imagine will increase his effectiveness and allow him to sleep at least a few hours each night.
What impresses me greatly is his following statement:
If my name is on it, it's still from me... every word is still mine, every email too.Seth gets what a lot of people don't about the next generation of media. In this age of social networking, Web2.0 and all that stuff, people value authenticity. There are still many people who are happy to read stuff with celeb bylines that are ghost written. Or tweets from a PR. Increasingly, though, this won't wash.
I love Oz Clarke and Hugh Johnson, but I'm uncomfortable with the fact that a lot of their output is written by other people. Both pocket guides are written by other wine writers who have expertise in specific areas - the content is more informed because of this, but it isn't correctly bylined. I'm uncomfortable because it isn't authentic - readers are led to believe that this is all Hugh's or Oz' work. I'm also uncomfortable because it short changes the writers who do the work.
I respect Seth, who now is important enough and busy enough to have other people write his copy or emails (and then approve them), but he doesn't. That authenticity is valuable beyond measure.