Taking on Ghost Tweeting this time.

07Aug09

Sometimes I feel like this should be an association twitter blog, but then I realize I do write about more than just Twitter. Anyways…

Ghost Tweeting – To hire and have someone tweet on another person’s behalf. This may done by politicians, actors and other celebrities.

Today I decided that ghost tweeting really irks the hell out of me. I had up until today reserved judgment as in reality there is no “right” way to do Twitter, also Guy Kawasaki uses ghost tweeters, so who am I to say a man with almost 200k followers is wrong?

Then this morning I saw a tweet from a reporter at CNN that was obviously a ghost tweeter and my decision was made.

Here are my points, please let me know what you think in the comments.

1. Twitter is all about personal connections. It is an opportunity for individuals to connect directly with celebrities, media & people they otherwise wouldn’t meet. Ghost tweeting cheapens this. It’s like receiving an autographed photo of your favorite celebrity only to find out that their assistant is the one who actually signed it. It loses value because it isn’t the individual you are trying to connect with, it’s an individual working for them.

2. If you don’t have time to tweet that much, then don’t tweet that much! Seriously, I shouldn’t have to say it and you people that use ghost tweeters shouldn’t have to hire someone to tweet for you. Once again you’re cheapening the experience, you aren’t giving me an authentic look into what it’s like to be that person. If you can’t do that, I kind of feel like you shouldn’t be on Twitter, ya know? Celebrities that use ghost tweeters should just jump off the bandwagon, b/c they didn’t belong in the first place.

3. I’m kind of against multiple people tweeting from the same account anyways. I explained briefly in my last post about our Twitter strategy at AAPA, I can understand why .org’s & other brands do this, but not knowing who the individual is really puts a distance between me & that account. I’m less likely to pay attention to the account & more likely to pay attention to the individuals that work for that organization/company. Once again I stress that we are looking to connect with individuals in social media, THAT is why it is so revolutionary. No more hiding behind a brand, you the employee/CEO/president/mailroom guy are a part of the conversation.

So that’s why I’m thinking. What do you think of ghost tweeting? Is it okay? Am I just being overly critical or do I have a point?

~Lynn

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9 Responses to “Taking on Ghost Tweeting this time.”

  1. You totally have a point–it is exactly like having a photo of a celeb signed by his/her assistant. Or like a “real” letter from the White House.

    In Guy’s case it works because he uses Twitter to push links out–his ghosts tweet links but he himself responds to @ and direct messages. It’s not like they’re trying to mimic his voice or impersonate him.

    The MOST annoying Twitter thing to me lately is @WTOP. It’s a radio station I listen to and I started following them b/c they seemed to post relevant stuff. Then I started noticing that they have that one account but apparently the different reporters tweet from it like this:

    “FROM Maggie McGary: if this was a WTOP tweet half of it would be taken up with my huge FROM and name”

    Then last night one of them was using that FROM some reporter with a long name format to live tweet I think the Sotomayor swearing in or something. I’m talking dozens and dozens of tweets, all starting “FROM whatever her name was:”

    I swear I will have to unfollow them soon, which is unfortunate because some of what they tweet is valuable content–but you can’t just have one account then have different people use up half the characters every tweet identifying themselves–for the love of GOD give those reporters their own accounts already!

  2. I think in Guy’s case the @Alltop account should be the one that has the ghost tweeters. But who am I to judge someone that has a ton more followers than I.

    I agree with you that WTOP should set up account for their reporters. Well at least those who want them, then you use the main account to call out who is tweeting from where & headlines, traffic updates, etc. I think that would be the most effective use of it. 98rock here in Baltimore does something similar, but they are also a totally different format. Do you think the format of the radio station might have something to do with the way they approach twitter?

  3. Great post Lynn. Why do you think the CNN reporter had a ghost tweeter? You should check out, http://www.tweetexorcist.com, that was started by myself. @amyjdean, and @booksbelow. You can follow us on Twitter at @tweetexorcist.

    It seems like lately the issue of ghost tweeting is dead. People aren’t as up in arms as they were when it was discovered that Guy was using ghosts. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it’s hard to prove and the media isn’t bothering to ferret out ghosts. In fact, they freely quote the Twitter feeds of celebrities without really knowing if it’s them. Also, Twitter recently launched a service to verify celebrity accounts. Even though it only confirms a celebrity is associated with a particular account, it doesn’t verify that they are tweeting for themselves. Nonetheless, I think it’s giving people comfort.

    Back in the day, when people got a form letter from their favorite star in the mail, did they really care if it was really written by the star themselves or not? I guess it depends on the person.

  4. Thanks for the comment Amy!

    The CNN reporter has a ghost tweeter (and I use that term loosely to label anyone who is tweeting under someone else’s name, whether we know it or not) because they said “XXX is on location at blah blah blah”. The XXX was who the account was supposed to belong to (and I’ve seen other evidence as well).

    When I saw Guy at Buzz 2009 about a month and half ago and he mentioned the ghost tweeting thing. It seemed as though it was a touchy topic for him because he skated right over it and tried to squelch any conversation about it. To me it’s important b/c I think social media is about authenticity or at least it’s a core value of it. To me it’s like finding out all of HST’s work was actually written by his assistant. Sure I still appreciate the work, but it ruins it at the same time. I don’t want to be lied to and when I follow someone I’m following them b/c it’s THEM, not some assistant. When I find out it’s an assistant, I feel as though I’ve been lied to, which I don’t think anyone likes to feel like they’ve been lied to. Why not just come out and just set up an account for the assistant so everything is clear.

    Maybe I’m overly sensitive about it, but the reason I’m passionate about social media is that it is a chance to connect with individuals with the walls down. There are certain things that are expected, like being real. No more flashy marketing plans or advertising campaigns to distract you from what’s really important. Social media strips away all the things that aren’t necessary and lets people be honest. Ghost tweeting completely negates all of that, for me at least.

  5. I totally understand exactly how you feel. Check out this article I wrote for BusinessWeek. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/may2009/db20090529_412243.htm

  6. I saw something about that subject on TV last night. Nice article.

  7. Hm, I am ok with this but nonetheless not utterly convinced, therefore i am going to research a tad bit more.

  8. This article is full of excellent informative content. The points you make are interesting and original, and I agree on many of them. Thank you for writing on this topic. http://www.samsung1080phdtv.net/

  9. I will right away take hold of your rss as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Please allow me know so that I could subscribe.
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