PR, ghostwriting, transparency, and the designated hitter rule — in less than 700 words!

I don't wanna hear it!

Earlier this week I wrestled with a handful of social-media purists who could not/would not acknowledge my arguments on ghostwriting and blogging. If you missed it, just scroll down one post.

Nothing I said or will ever say on this issue can change their minds. They’ve covered their ears, as we all sometimes do.

Yes, we all have issues on which we won’t compromise. No matter how reasonable the opponent’s position, we stand firm. And we often completely disregard contrary points of view to protect our own. It’s human nature.

My “blinder” issue is baseball’s designated hitter rule — truly one of the great injustices of the 20th Century, I’m sure you’ll agree. As a baseball purist, I believe all nine players must compete on both offense and defense. Otherwise, it’s not really baseball.

Don’t try to argue with me, OK? I don’t want to hear it.

Don’t tell me that the DH extends the careers of the game’s greatest hitters — and thus the enjoyment we all derive from watching them. You’re wrong, and I don’t want to hear it. Don’t tell me the DH eliminates a sure strikeout by the pitcher 95% of the time. Strikeouts in the 9-hole are part of the game, and I don’t want to hear it. And don’t tell me that the DH increases scoring and, in turn, the excitement of the game, fan interest, attendance, beer sales, et. al. You’re wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’ve studied the DH since its inception, and I now understand it as a marketing conspiracy that put profits ahead of the authenticity of this game we all love. I told you not to trust those bastards!

Let’s face it, the DH destroys the true “voice” of the game. And as a result, you can’t trust anything that happens on the field in the American League. Nothing.

I know you’re all nodding in agreement out there. I can feel the karma, and I love you for it — almost as much as I love the refreshing taste of an Old Style lager on a Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. You don’t get more authentic than Wrigley.

Yep, the DH rule is my “blinder” issue, and nothing you say will ever change my thinking. I’ve covered my ears. Some folks feel the same way about ghostwriting. Go figure!

DH or not, I’ll be pullin’ for the Tribe come Opening Day. I hear Haffner’s got his swing back!

bucksSo it ain’t so, Mo!

Seems the dust up over ghost-blogging extends to the Buckeye Nation this week. The folks at DeadSpin —  along with many social-media purists, no doubt — are questioning the transparency and authenticity former football great Maurice Clarett.

In case you don’t follow really important news, the hero of the 2002 BSC Championship game is blogging from his prison cell in Toldeo where he’s doing 7+ for some youthful indiscretions. Looks like he’s making good use of his time in the stir, reaching out with his blog.

Mo claims his blog will help young people, including his own daughter, make better choices in life. I salute him for the effort, and I like what I see so far. But is Mo really writing it? After all, his prison cell has no computer, nor does it have an Internet connection. Clarett says he dictates his posts to family members over the phone, and he insists that every word posted to “The Mind of Maurice Clarett” is his and his alone.

Do you think he’s being completely transparent? I mean, what if Clarett has a ghostwriter — you know, some stealth wordsmith trying to improve his image before the next parole hearing? This has to be unsettling to social media purists, along with those who worship at the altar of Buckeye football.

All kidding aside, good luck turning your life around, Maurice. I’m one of those guys who believes in second chances. Your blog tells me you’re headed down the right path, whether you write it all yourself or not.

13 Responses to PR, ghostwriting, transparency, and the designated hitter rule — in less than 700 words!

  1. Ed says:

    You have really discussed at length regarding ghost-writing and it helps a lot with very legitimate examples above.

    Secretly in my heart, I would love to see you tackle another controversial issue: pay-per-hour vs pay-per-performance. Will be interesting.

  2. Bill Huey says:

    I agree completely. And while we’re at it, we should bring the drop kick back to professional football. League rules permit it, and that pansy business of kicking field goals off of a tee is a bore!

  3. Mike Keliher says:

    I, too, have a baseball “blinder issue”: Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame, for god’s sake. I know, I know — trust me, I’ve heard all of the arguments against it, including “What about his hair?!” I don’t care. Every one of those arguments strikes me as irrelevant as Ralph Nader in the last presidential election.

  4. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks, Bill. I like the idea, but have to say the drop kick even predates my time watching football. But so long as the Steelers continue to win Super Bowls, I have no objection.

    Oh, Mike, Mike, Mike. You and I have the same exact blinders on that issue. My favorite player of all time is Pete Rose — even though he did so much to keep my Pirates out of the Series back in the 70s. I know he was a cheat and scoundrel when it comes to the game. I know he’s not exactly done his mea culpa for any of this. And he’s a horrible role model in terms of sportsmanship, too.

    But damn it, he’s Charlie Hustle, and his play on the field is forever part of my baseball memories as a young man. Simply the most exciting player I have ever seen take the field — and this from a guy who watched the great Roberto Clemente in his prime back in the Burgh.

    And thanks for not arguing ghostwriting, gentlemen. This post was designed for a “lighten up Friday.” You have added to it. But where are the Buckeye fans? Mourning their last bowl loss, no doubt.

  5. Bill Sledzik says:

    To Ed: Sorry, man. Your comment was inadvertently routed to spam (by me, I think).

    This post illustrates how my ham-handed attempts at satire simply don’t cross international borders or cultures. I need to keep that in mind.

    You raise an interesting issue — that of being paid for hours worked vs results achieved. The purists in our business will say you cannot, must not — no, no, never — base fees on outcomes — since we seldom control how things will turn out. Lawyers are in the same situation.

    Great area to explore, and perhaps I will soon. Thanks for dropping by, and sorry about the spam thing.

  6. marketingsociologist says:

    I agree with Mike Keliher – Rose for Cooperstown!

  7. Bill Sledzik says:

    OK. We’re all agreed on Pete Rose. Just want to be sure you all know that he didn’t write his own books.

  8. Beth Harte says:

    Pete Rose?! I am from Philly…that one just hurts!😉

    Okay, since I am one of those social media purists you speak so lovingly about I am going to chime in…😉

    As for Maurice Clarett, if he is indeed calling family and dictating his blog posts and they are typing them as spoken (his words, his thoughts, his ideas), I have no issues with it. That’s typing assistance, not ghost blogging. What I would have an issue with is Maurice Clarett hiring a PR agency that goes and writes his posts based on some conversations with him (and none of those posts reflect how much jail truly sucks and perhaps in those words)…at that point they become his mouthpiece and that is not transparent or translucent.

    My only argument for PR/Marketing/Communications folks not writing for others is that social media is about being authentic. If Maurice Clarett uses slang in a phone call with his family and they add that to the post, that’s real. The PR agency might leave it out because in their view it might not fit the image they are trying to portray for their client…and his, um, probation hearing.

    And to the discussion that we were having last week, I don’t believe that PR/Marketing/Communications are always the best people to blog for a company (i.e. as the actual bloggers, their own words/voice). Not unless they have really deep industry, product/service and customer experience…otherwise they tend to just publish marketing messages, which can typically be found elsewhere (ads, news releases, website copy, brochures/collateral). To your point, it takes a team and that team needs to include all different people/positions/etc.

    Okay, sorry to not keep it light. Given that I know nothing about baseball I can’t debate the DH rule. Don’t hold that against me…please. I’ll just trust that you’re right on that one.🙂

  9. David32767 says:

    And when they cut the bottom out of the peach baskets ‘purists’ decried that the whole complextion of the game had changed. And it did, referees no longer were responsible for getting a ladder and getting the ball out of the then ‘basket’ after each score. I am sure some of you old timers wailed when they painted the three point line on the court. Things change. I think depending on the purpose and topic, ghost writers are acceptable. That too may change.

  10. Bill Sledzik says:

    Hey, Dave. Thanks for coming by. Glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor since your last visit.

  11. Blair Boone says:

    OK, here’s my question. If social media, especially blogging, are all about not following the rules of “old” media (e.g., typos and grammar are irrelevant, authentic voice is all-important), and if social media are largely self-regulating and thus not rule-bound, how is it possible there’s such a hue and cry when someone violates the unwritten “rules” of social media?

    Am I the only one who experiences some cognitive dissonance here? The people who say one of the key benefits of social media is it’s both unregulated and unmediated are the ones who immediately rise up to enforce rules and mediate that experience for everyone else. Not saying you’re wrong; just saying it seems contradictory.

    For those seeking surety: Bill, you’re right on the DH, wrong (so very wrong) on Rose.

  12. Bill Sledzik says:

    Was hoping all readers would consider the cognitive dissonance when I linked to it in this post. Maybe you’re the only one who clicked — or the only one who saw its application here.

    Those who oppose ghostwriting as a categorical imperative, ala the Kantians, ignore their long-held beliefs that the marketplace will sort out what is credible and what is not in this unmediated environment of SM. If all ghostwriting is, by definition, unauthentic, then all who use ghostwriting will certainly see their social media efforts fail.

    I don’t believe for a second that’s gonna happen.

    I won’t try to debate you on Rose, because you are 100% right. He is a liar and a scoundrel who has no place in Cooperstown. My attempt to extend the satire was clumsy, to be sure. A more exciting player never took the field. But he has no place in the Hall of Fame (even though a few other scoundrels are enshrined there).

    My real views on credibility and our heroes (including Pete) were posted to this blog long ago.

  13. […] example, ghostwriting social media content for executives and clients continues to be a hot topic. (Here’s my take on it, for anyone who’s interested) Some people think it’s a crime. […]

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