jamie goode's wine blog: 'If my name's on it...'

Thursday, July 23, 2009

'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.


At 4:24 PM, Blogger Jem said...

That should put the cat amongst the pigeons.

But I agree with you. Neither can be expected to expert in everything - knowledgeable yes and experts in some things but they havent the time to really dig out the regional facts.

If that is what they are doing they should recognise the contributions of others rather than pass it off as their own. After all they already have a reputation and they should be helping to build the future of others. Like Wine Report

I wonder what the UK wine forum might say?

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Ian S said...

Johnson definitely credits the contributors at the start of his pocket guide.

I don't know about Oz, but would expect the same.

Maybe I don't get web 2.0 (I suspect I don't, but don't feel upset by this!), but I remain a huge fan of Johnson's pocket guide. For me the best value wine book and that by some distance. The sheer breadth is the key.



At 12:42 AM, Blogger Paul Tudor said...

Unfortunately we are having a very real problem with this here in NZ, with "Robert Parker rated" wines. Of course, everyone in the trade knows that Neal Martin writes the NZ section for The Wine Advocate, but this does not stop wineries and distributors using Parker's name. It is misleading to the general public.

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Camoranesi said...

Great to read you saying this Jamie. If authenticity matters as far as terroir goes, then surely it's gotta matter when it comes to the person describing it too...

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Dan Coward said...

Very valid point Jamie (and Seth). Being genuine and honest isn't just something you have to try to get away with. It is at the core of everything that is written (print, online, twitter, wherever). The great thing about readers is that they can smell a rat and will run a mile, probably telling 10 other people about their experience along the way.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Steve Jelbert said...

Web 2.0 = you write it, someone else profits.

Seconded, Johnson's book is excellent, though I agree it could be a touch clearer as to who writes what. Perhaps each section could be credited at the start. But his name is the guarantee, as much a trademark as Wisden...


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