George Takei has had a successful post-Star Trek career, keeping himself in the public eye with appearances on Howard Stern’s XM/Sirius show, and many other places. Lately, however, the man who made Sulu famous has been really taken with social media, especially Facebook, where he’s become quite the popular follow. To wit, Takei’s Facebook page has over 4 million fans, and his frequent updates command tens of thousands of likes and shares.
Last week, however, it was revealed that a ghostwriter had been posting jokes on the actor’s page, for $10 a pop. The person in question, journalist Rick Polito, was outed over at Jim Romenesko’s blog, and the story about Takei’s Facebook writer grew its “part of the trend cycle” legs. So much so, Takei responded about the validity of his Facebook feed:
“What is this hoo-ha about my FB posts? I have Brad, my husband, to help me and interns to assist. What is important is the reliability of my posts being there to greet my fans with a smile or a giggle every morning. That’s how we keep on growing.”
The disappointment of Takei’s audience has apparently caused Polito to reconsider his admission and issue an apology, which also appeared on Romenesko’s blog:
I wrote an apology to George and Brad and their guy said he’d pass it on. I just said that I’d been looking for any mention of my book I could get and that I hadn’t meant to expose anything.
Polito’s response, however, creates another question: If he didn’t mean to expose anything, why did he include that particular detail in his correspondence with Romenesko? It is easy to understand wanting to attract as large of an audience as you can, and that probably explains why the information about Takei’s Facebook page was included to begin with.
If a potential buyer sees the book and makes the connection–“Hey, this is the dude who wrote for Takei’s Facebook feed, and he’s pretty funny. I’ll give his book a shot.”–it could prove to be a shrewd move in the world of self-promotion. If it backfires, however, does Polito get to go back to the easy money that is Takei’s Facebook feed, or did he burn that particular bridge?
Considering Takei had to publicly address the matter, I know which way I am leaning.