About the Blog

ToughSledding was born on Sept. 11, 2006, at a patio table on the north shore of Sandy Lake, near Kent, Ohio. My decision to launch on the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy was coincidental, I assure you.

A view from my patio most any fall day.

This blog began is a middle-aged professor’s attempt to learn about social media by doing social media. It’s now more of an archive than anything else, as I ran out of energy somewhere near the end of 2012. I seldom discuss weighty topics anymore. Maybe that’ll change now that I’m retired.

Nevertheless, I have enjoyed being part of the online discussion about public relations — actually more than I ever enjoyed public relations itself. You see, teaching is my REAL calling. PR just happens to be what I know the most about. If I had it to do over, I’d probably be a high-school history teacher. And if I’d done that I be 12 years retired and touring North America in a truck camper. Fucking hindsight, eh?

I don’t write this blog for any audience in particular. I write for me. In some ways, the blog is an extension of my teaching. And just like in the classroom, I sometimes get way off topic. I try hard to let my smart-ass nature shine through here, but occasionally my attempts at wit are going to piss you off. Don’t expect me to lose sleep over this. No one forced you to read it, did they?

Comments are welcome. But not many people bother with blog comments these days. Twitter pretty much killed meaningful online conversations. And Facebook. Geezuz, what a wasteland! I can’t remember the last time we had a long thread on this site. But the comment box is there if you want to use it.

About the blog banner. I plan to change it frequently. The current photo is one I shot while skiing in -10° temperatures near Grand Marais, Minnesota, a few years back, I love snow, mostly because I know you don’t. Gives me the woods to myself. I should probably mention I’ve gotten far less sociable in my old age. 

Bill Sledzik (revised January 16, 2019)


9 thoughts on “About the Blog

  1. I am currently researching whether or president/ceo should have a blog. It was suggested to her. I have found lots of information but quite frankly not enought to make a sound decisions. Any advise you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Ann Davis, Public Relations Manager. I case you were wondering how I got your name I was searching the internet for a topic for an ethic minute. We start each meeting with a safety, strategic plan (balanced scorecard) and ethics minute. I am using your 5 minute response to Lauren a PR major at West Virginia U. Thank you for your consideration.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Ann. When I started into this blogging adventure, I was convinced every CEO should have one. I even drafted a proposal to our new president to suggest it. I came away from reading “Naked Converstations” (Scoble & Israel) convinced I had found the holy grail.

    I’m no longer so sure. I’m all for a CEO blog, since it can really open up the organization. But you need to consider the variables.

    First, you need an open culture that encourages candor and rewards those who challenge the status quo. Your boss must be willing to post the negative comments alongside the positive or the “conversation” won’t happen. In my experience, that knocks out 90% of top executives, maybe more. A blog can turn into a free for all if the culture is wrong. And when that happens, the CEO will be asking you to censor it. When that happens, it’s game over.

    Second, you need a CEO who believes enough in the blog to commit plenty of time to it. If a blog is to be the voice of the top officer, then it should be HER voice, not someone from the PR staff (It’s OK if you clean up her typos). I can see a CEO getting excited about blogging, then losing enthusiasm as the burden expands. Blogs also require maintenance time, too, since they’re a conversation. That means checking comments and responding, at minimum, daily. I check mine every few hours. Since most CEO travel a good bit, maintenance is an issue.

    Third, It takes a certain amount of EGO to put oneself out there every day. Most CEOs are blessed with plenty of it, but the top execs truly interested in listening tend not to crave the limelight. This is gonna sound crass, but it really helps if you love the sound of your own prose. I know I do.

    My best advice would be to try a blog on a fairly vertical topic and limit the discussion to that topic. You can always expand. Maybe it focuses on employee wellness issues, or issues related to retirement planning. For customers, it could be an ideas exchange. But be careful. If you use the blog for propaganda, you’ll lose followers quickly. You might also want to test it with another officer of the organization. If it fails, it’s not the CEO’ s problem.

    Our president, though not a blogger, issues an email about once a week that goes to staff and students of the university. While his tone is light and conversational, the messages never addresses issues of concern to us. They just cheerleading for the organization, which is part of the CEOs job. But a constant harangue of “aren’t we wonderful” messages only leads to folks tuning you out.

  3. Bill,

    Regarding the president’s emails, You hit the nail on the head. The emails were a refreshing change, but the lack of substance got old fast. Now, I just hit the delete key when the emails appear in my box. I suspect that most of the students and faculty do too. I would rather watch cheerleading on ESPN.


  4. Hi Bill. Good stuff. I actually leanred about your blog recently, when there was a vote on the most educational blogs and so from the options provided on the voting form, i decided to visit all listed to see how they work. I previously knew MNPR Blog, actually a favorite. Like you say in your comments about TS, I am a young professional looking to be extremely seasoned at this business. Exicted to come off better!! See you regularly.

  5. Thanks for dropping in, Leah. I hope you’ll come by from time to time. But I also hope I can crank up the energy to post more. Summer always slows me down, this one in particular. One of the lessons most bloggers learn is how much energy it takes to sustain this type of site.

    As for that vote over at Arik’s blog — I suspect I got my butt kicked by the guy from the West Coast — you know, who write posts as long as the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Great content, but inefficient.

  6. I am new at this. I have enjoyed your article /bloggin on “What Public Relation Is Not” Do you have any articles about What public relation is?

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