Ghost Writers in Social Networking – A problem?

9 04 2009

So I’m guessing you’re not going to be surprised if I told you that social networking is really about 2 WAY INTERACTION. I am not just referring to the interaction between consumers themselves but the interaction between consumers and content producers – be it musicians, writers, bloggers etc.

The great thing about sites like Twitter is that it has put everyone on an even playing field. In a way, it has humanized these so called celebrities and given them an easy way to stay in touch with their audiences. Now the problem with this incredible boom in social networking is that in order to stay in touch with audiences, content producers are having to take their scalability to new heights. However, all of us are unfortunately constrained by the 15 or so working hours that a day usually provides us with. As a result, content producers are beginning to use  ‘dummies’ or ghost writers to maintain their presence online.

Unfortunately, I have a problem with that! All of a sudden the level playing field is not so level anymore. Now I wasn’t too sure if I was making too much of a big deal out of this so I decided to talk to other marketers, also studying at Schulich, to understand their perspective. One of my colleagues, Gal Corfas, told me he had recently stopped following Guy Kawasaki on Twitter for a similar reason.  Here’s what he had to say…

“The strength of twitter, in fact the reason for its meteorically rising popularity, is due to twitter currently being perceived as the “honest voice of the people”. When popular tweeters use bots or writing teams to produce content for them, they undermine this honest image and are in fact pulling the carpet from under their own feet. ”

Personally, I don’t think the issue is the usage of ghost writers…the issue is more about authenticity. If you’re going to have a team to maintain your presence online, say so! Lets not dupe consumers, because sooner or later they’ll find out.

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3 responses

12 04 2009
Robert Cohen

I couldn’t agree more! I really don’t think guys like Guy Kawasaki should be bothering about Scalability. There’s a lot more value in limited but high quality interaction. I think someone like “Mashable” on Twitter is a great example of that quality!

15 04 2009
JJ

Ujwal, you’ve put your finger on one of the material roots of this problem: the fact that we’re working “15 or more” hours each day.

15 04 2009
Ujwal Arkalgud

haha…I agree. I guess its my way of saying that in today’s environment, we don’t really have to be at work to work… if we’re on our iphones tweeting about something in the industry – its work, if we’re in the subway typing up our latest blog – its work and similarly if we’re at home reading other people’s work – its work as well.

We’re all apparently on the scalability train and there’s no turning back! Maybe we should all go camping soon 🙂

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