Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 8, 2010 1:41 PM

The Great Ghost Blogging (And Ghost Tweeting) Debate (Again)

Episode #214 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

If there's one debate that never gets tired, it's the one about Ghost Blogging. We've come to this strange intersection with Social Media, where companies want to Blog, but they feel like their CEO (or others within the company) would best be served if that voice was created by a ghost writer. It's an issue that irritates me because I don't agree with it, but I do understand why businesses do it (hence my frustration). Mark W. Schaefer (over at Grow) had a great Blog post titled, Why It's Ridiculous To Argue About Ghost Blogging, that ran contrary to a post I had published titled, The Death of Social Media (which focused on executives now hiring individuals to tweet for them onTwitter). While the comments and conversations were/are fantastic, we decided to have a Skype chat/debate about the topic. Here it is. Enjoy the conversation...

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast #214.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Katherine
    Mitch Joel

    hmmm...I am a little conflicted about this topic. Although, I am not truly a ghost writer. More of an admin for busy family members. My husband, @JHEVideoPro, who is often out on location shooting video and my son, @RobHammondActor, an aspiring actor and college student, who tells me what's happening with him as he runs out the door. All their blog posts are theirs...I just plug them into the appropriate places and clean up typos. I can understand why more traditionally inclined execs might need help managing their social web presence.

    Then there is this anthropomorphizing experiment I am doing @Fafoutee. Tweeting as the voice of my Yorkie. But I explain that in a couple blog posts. So, I don't think that counts as ghost writing.

    Reply
    • I would say that if your husband and son are expecting you to act and be like them in online social networks on their behalf (and you're not disclosing it), then it's weird. This is probably not the way they'll gain trust and loyalty, but again - this is a different channel. And therein lies the debate: is this channel all that different from the other media and should it have different values and beliefs?

      Reply
      • Posted by Katherine
        Mitch Joel

        It feels more like I am the secretary. Although I hate that word. They dictate tweets. The process for blogs goes like this...they email their post to me and I plug it in. Then send out a tweet that links to it. Not really worried about @JHEVideoPro "trust" as most folks know my husband and his work. After 25 years his work speaks for him on the blog and youtube. For my son, I wanted to secure web presence, URLs etc. now, while he is still learning and growing as an actor...just in case his career takes off.

        Reply
  • Posted by Gavin Llewellyn
    Mitch Joel

    I found this podcast very interesting and the debate was fascinating. Within my organisation, I've tried to encourage executives and senior managers to embrace many of the philosophies that come with social media, i.e. transparency, linking with communities etc, and buy into social media methods such as social networking and blogging.

    I've found this to be a bit of a challenge at times, and on a number of occasions we (the marketing team) have had to ghost write blog posts from limited or no input at all from executives/ managers and put their names to it. Although all blog posts get signed off, I don't agree that this is blogging in the true sense of the word. However, at least this gets the executives' names, faces and opinions 'out there', and offers something different to the one-sided nature of our news page that consists of self-promotional press releases. Our blog posts attempt to ‘talk around’ subjects that discretely link back to what the company may be doing or there stance on certain topics and issues.

    Nevertheless, I agree with both you and Mark. I agree that when somebody puts their name to a blog post it should be from them, and only from them. But not all executives can (and will) write, and therefore what other alternative is there but to assist them? We could make it clear that some of the posts are ghosted, but my concern is that the blog would lose it’s value as a result- but then we also run the risk of appearing untrustworthy if we carry on as we are!

    I’m therefore in a bit of a quandary although I’m hoping things will become a lot clearer the more I learn about social media and develop my own skills and philosophies. Reading and listening to blogs and podcasts such as yours will help, so I’ll carry on reading and listening and perhaps things will become clearer in my own mind before long so that I can make a confident stance in due course!

    Reply
    • I don't think it has to be the executives. Why can't it be someone from Marketing? I think people want authenticity in Blogs... not just some CEO's picture next to more corporate speak. Well, maybe people don't care whether or not the CEO wrote it, but I do.

      Reply
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