David Mullen nails it with his post on “Save the Ghosts for Halloween

Think this is a great post and should be required reading for companies that want to “use” social media.

It may seem like splitting hairs, but in my mind there’s a difference between ghost writing the typical items mentioned above and ghost writing blog posts, Twitter “tweets,” and blog comments. That’s because there is a different expectation in place when it comes to social media engagement.

If we really believe in this stuff, not just paying lip service to cluetrain and treat “the conversation” like the newest jug of snake oil, then ghost blogging has to be seen as inauthentic, not real, and a BAD IDEA.

Strategists, “gurus” and agencies need to stop treating their clients like junkies and acting as crack dealers. They need to stop “blogging for”, “communicating for” and “using social media” for their clients and work with the clients to develop a real sustainable culture within the communications (marketing and PR and events) teams of DOING THIS THEMSELVES. Are you really joining the users in a conversation if you are doing it by proxy (ghost blogger)? Acting as a filter between the user and the client is inherently INAUTHENTIC, FALSE AND WRONG.

The main reason I got involved with digital media in the early days was because it was different, special, unique. The same goes with Social Media. How is blogging different from a press release if it isnt real?

Are you really joining the conversation if you are having someone do it for you?

Strategy at its core is about education. Guru by definition is a teacher or guide. These roles arent meant to be cutouts between the user and the org. We “experts” need to help the clients tell their stories and connect DIRECTLY with the users. I would rather see the intern in the client’s Comm department blogging than have some wonk in the agency write it for them.

In Social Media, WHO says it is as important as WHAT is said. Otherwise this will end up like press releases and advertising… and users will move on.

4 thoughts on “Ghost Blogging and Authenticity

  1. David Mullen

    Sean – thanks for extending the conversation here on your space. It’s a topic that needs addressing. Like the post title insinuates, I’m all for ghosts, but only the cute rug rat versions that ring my doorbell on Halloween and say “trick or treat.” Ghosts have no place in this space.

  2. Dean Landsman

    A blight upon the connected community is the many PR (and other such) shops who see online social engagement and communication as an open platform for flackery. Getting The Message Out can be a critical, beneficial and necessary tactic. But when it is a play for plpay’s sake, and done en masse, it loses much of the effectiveness. And, for me, all of the charm. This is not to dismiss PR per se, but the many PR firms that seem to have discovered (or, in one case, actually have gone backwards in time and invented) blogging and now short message social media, are overcrowding certain areas of the space with either misplaced client flackery, or self-flackery, which is way over the edge.

    There is this one ghost writer I like, though. Very friendly posts. Casper something . . .

  3. Sean Post author

    David – your original post started the ball rolling. Its been a pet peeve of mine for a while.

    Dean – thankyou for adding “flackery” to my vocabulary… I will now overuse it and abuse it in multiple decks 🙂

    Susan – so true… the problem is a lot of clients are willing to buy the snake oil, and in a lot of cases dont have the context for WHY they should do it right. The other day I saw a twitter from a friend about suggestions for a client who questioned blogging after seeing a report that only 16% of users trust corporate blogs. Ghost blogging, flackery, and the users highly tuned BS meters all come to mind 🙂

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