I Blog often about my good friends, David Jones and Terry Fallis, who co-host the most excellent Podcast, Inside PR. In fact, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing David Jones tomorrow when he presents: Engage! How Social Media Can Build Brands Through Consumer Connection at the CMA - Canadian Marketing Association - National Convention and Trade Show 2007. On this week's episode of Inside PR #59, their main topic of discussion is Ghost Blogging. Here's how Blogossary describes Ghost Blogging:
"A ghost blog is a blog run and managed by an anonymous author(s).A ghost blog can also be a blog written by a company or person on behalf of another company or person.
Example: person B is blogging on behalf of person A."
As always, the Inside PR guys provide nothing but the best (and most honest) perspective. This episode, in particular, really got me thinking: Why is it OK for a communications professional to write a speech for a CEO of company or make-up a quote from a CEO that goes into a press release, but be totally flamed if said CEO uses a Ghost Blogger?
I just don't get the difference.
If we live in an age of transparency and authenticity, why are some forums perfectly fine for using a Ghost and others not?
I'm not saying that I think it's fine for companies to Ghost Blog (I don't), but then it should be equally unacceptable to make-up quotes for a press release or write their speech as well.
Are we simply down on Ghost Blogging because the whole channel of Blogs has not matured? I wonder if we'll feel the same way about Blogs in five years as we do now - knowing that no executive actually gives a specific quote for a press release - or if our world will shift towards demanding that employees are accurately quoted and write their own speeches because of the values found in Social Media.
I highly recommend you take a listen to the latest episode of Inside PR here: Inside PR #59 - Tuesday, May 15, 2007.
I would hate to think that Ghost Blogging is bad but Ghost Writing is acceptable. There's something in my gut that hopes for equality and transparency across all channels. Wouldn't it be great if a CEO from a company did stand up at a Chamber of Commerce event and say, "this speech was written for me, but hang tight... there are some great insights here that someone else wrote, but I will pass them off as my own."?
Because, at the end of it all, if you can't write, maybe you should not Blog. Just like you should not be giving a speech if you're not skilled at addressing a group, or giving a quote if you're not great at communicating your thoughts. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate what skills we do look for in our leaders and expect them to deliver, instead of just making it up for them.