Authentic or Not? Part 1: Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging

ghost-maskSocial media is supposed to be all about relationships and conversations, right?

Authenticity is highly valued.

However, as more social networks come on the scene, each adds new features, and the number of friends, followers, and connections in each grows, can also become chaotic and overwhelming.

One way to deal with the chaos is to us tools that automate some social media tasks.  Another option is to delegate or outsource social media tasks to someone else.

But do these strategies violate the value authenticity?

Today we kick off a series called Authentic or Not?  In which we’ll discuss some of the popular social media time-savers. I’m really interested to hear your opinions on these techniques.

1)    Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging

Some authors, celebrities, CEOs, and even pastors actually have a publicist or someone within their organization do their tweets or Facebook status updates for them.  Some even have ghost writers do their blog posts.

Sometimes it’s because the individual doesn’t understand social media and someone else would do a better job of it.  Sometimes the individual understands social media but doesn’t want to put the time and effort into it.

Many people think ghost writing is disingenuous because people assume that when something goes out under a person’s name that it’s really their words.

Social media guru Guy Kawasaki recently made waves when he advocated ghost tweeting, saying:

Why does it matter who is doing the tweeting? Either the content is good or not good. I’d rather follow a smart intern tweeting for a CEO than an dumb CEO tweeting for himself or herself.

People who have ghost writers usually say that they collaborate with the person doing the writing.  It’s like the president having speech writers.  He gives them general themes, they write the speech, and then he may tweak the final product.

What do you think about ghost tweeting/Facebooking/blogging?

Authentic or not?

–> Authentic or Not? Part 2: Automatically Following Back

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

13 Responses to “Authentic or Not? Part 1: Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging”

  1. Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging destroys the relationship of social media. Makes it purely goal orientated. It may work, but in the long run relationship will build trust – just as Chris Brogan talks about in his Trust Agents book. Ghost TF&B does not promote relationship – not even if managed directly by the person being 'ghosted'

  2. Ghost writing is nothing new. Executives typically don't have the time or ability to write their own speeches, shareholder letters, etc. If they ask a writer to help with those, why not ask one to help with social media content, as well? By following a few simple guidelines, the execs and their writers can "keep it real." Mark Schaefer does a great job outlining these guidelines in his post "Why it's ridiculous to argue about ghost blogging." http://businessesgrow.com/2010/06/22/why-its-ridi

    • Cool, now we have both sides of the argument represented.

      Kathryn, thanks for sharing your perspective and the link to a good article supporting it.

  3. I'm taking sides with Phillip on this one. I'm sure that there's a way to do it right, so that you can ghost FB and Tweet but in the end both of those and blogging as well are reliant on a PERSON. It's reliant on an identity, character, quirks and the intangibles that don't always come across when a filter (or ghost) is used. Take those out of the equation and eventually the relationship aspect suffers b/c the identity of the person ghosting gets lost.

  4. Communications would come to a total standstill at our place if we didn't employ the editorial process (which is what most of this is). We are assuming that all leaders are good communicators–they are not. Skilled ghost writers know their counterparts well enough to be able to communicate the essence of their message in effective words. If the CEO is good at it, like say Craig Newmark of Craig's List or Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, then it's a plus. I write blog entries, letters and other correspondence for my CEO after he has given me specific instructions and then he has total editorial power over the final product. Sometimes it doesn't look exactly like what I would like, but it's HIS blog. I am with Kawasaki for the most part, but blogs with misleading information as a base (this is the CEO Joe Blow when it's really not) usually come from companies that are cutting other transparency corners as well. In the end, content rules the roost online, and I don't think it's any different than employing a speech writer or image consultant, something a lot of faith-based organizations may not feel comfortable with.

  5. Trish Salmeier Jul 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I think that if you are going to have a social network you should actually be the one doing the socializing, otherwise what's the point. I know that some people use it to network to a larger target audience, and I get that, but I sue the social networks that I am on to actually get to know other people and to learn from them. I am a naturally outgoing and social person and truly inquisitive and interested in other people's thoughts and opinions. That's my thoughts on the subject.

  6. Trish Salmeier Jul 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I think that if you are going to have a social network you should actually be the one doing the socializing, otherwise what’s the point. I know that some people use it to network to a larger target audience, and I get that, but I sue the social networks that I am on to actually get to know other people and to learn from them. I am a naturally outgoing and social person and truly inquisitive and interested in other people’s thoughts and opinions. That’s my thoughts on the subject.

  7. My feeling is that you can have the best of both worlds. Why not use skilled writers who are well versed then have pastors contribute when time allows. Consistent relevant content is key to successful interaction.

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by OurChurch.Com and Wendy Spoon, Jason Pollock. Jason Pollock said: RT @OurChurchDotCom: Authentic or Not? Part 1: Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging – http://bit.ly/blhFII [...]

  2. Authentic or Not? Part 3: Ignoring Tweets & Status Updates « Christian Web Trends Blog - Jul 1, 2010

    [...] Part 1: Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging Part 2: Automatically following back [...]

  3. Authentic or Not? Part 4: Automatic Direct Messages « Christian Web Trends Blog - Jul 7, 2010

    [...] Part 1: Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging Part 2: Automatically following back Part 3: Ignoring Tweets & Status Updates [...]

  4. Authentic or Not? Part 5: Scheduled Tweets and Updates « Christian Web Trends Blog - Jul 12, 2010

    [...] Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging [...]

  5. Authentic or Not? Part 2: Automatically Following Back | Christian Web Trends Blog - Jul 10, 2012

    [...] Last week we kicked off this series called Authentic or Not? by discussing Part 1: Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging [...]