Ghost tweeting, the real fantom menace

Hello there!  I’m Mark Micheau, manager of research and translation services at
Today, I have a very thought provoking article to share with you and I hope you find it good reading.
I wish you a great day.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
 I just found out that my favorite celebrity contracts their Tweets and I’m so sad….
One of the coolest parts about about my job is the fact that I am always up to speed on the latest and coolest stuff in the world of search, social media and things of that nature. Over the course of the past decade, there have been no shortage of things to keep my eye on. That’s one of the cool parts of my job. What makes it interesting however is not necessarily the emergence of these new tools and/or technologies but how they end up being used.
I’ll give you an example. A couple of weeks ago at SES Chicago, our own Abby Johnson had a chat with Liana Evans about the concept of ‘ghost tweeting’. Ghost Tweeting is the practice of having multiple people twittering on the same account. Earlier in the year, Guy Kawasaki kind of got the search marketers buzzing about this a little bit at SES New York when he admitted he employs people to post updates on his Twitter account.
So you have Twitter, growing like crazy, immensely popular… then you have marketers like Kawasaki doing something a little differently with it. What happens? Well, it doesn’t take long before people start to point and say things like; ‘he’s doing it wrong’ or ‘that isn’t how you’re supposed to use it’ and when folks really want to climb up and stick a flag in that moral high ground, they question the ethics. They’ll call it unethical. They’ll call it amoral. Why, I have no doubt that a few of them will even say it’s contributing to global warming. The nerve of this guy… um, Guy. Twittering in such a way. It’s unnatural.
Do you think ghost tweeting is a problem or a bad thing? Let us know in the comments.
Now on the one hand, I can’t argue the rationale used when critics will say: it has his name on the account. It has his picture on the account. Therefore people assume that he is actually doing the talking. True, true and true… but so what? If you follow Guy, do you follow Guy because, gosh, he’s just so awesome and having a look at what he’s thinking every hour or so is just the high point of your day? Or, do you follow Guy because you like the articles, ideas and links he posts? I suppose if your Guy following is a product of the former, then, yes, you might reasonably be expected to feel somewhat disillusioned to learn that his hand may not be directly on the wheel of some of those updates. Then again, if this is the case, I would submit that you might need to talk to someone about adjusting your meds. Here’s a little revelation for you: the people you follow on Twitter are not your real ‘friends’. They are people who feel like they have something interesting (or not) to say and that somewhere someone might find what they have to say interesting enough to read it. That’s it.
Twitter ethics? Please. Morally responsible Tweets? I mean really people. I follow Kawasaki myself and have no problem suggesting you do too because he frequently has updates I find interesting for some reason or another. Does it matter that he isn’t personally type or even find the updates? Not to me. Not even a little. He is employing people to Twitter things on his behalf and I assume, if nothing else, if they were Twittering things he didn’t agree with, like, or find interesting himself… well, he’d go get somebody else to do it. If the updates weren’t interesting, I would just stop reading them… or unfollow him altogether. Being upset because you find out Guy isn’t personally typing updates into his Twitter account is akin to seeing Michael Jordan out somewhere and being upset because he’s wearing something other than Hanes and drinking something other than Gatorade.
Was Twitter originally designed for marketers? No probably not. Again, so what? The Internet was created as a communications tool for the military. Was it designed for people to be able to order stuff from Amazon and play farm town? Was email designed for newsletters? Was video designed for ? Ok, I’ll give you the  thing maybe, but the rest of it? No, I don’t think so. The best internet tools are the tools with the broadest range of applications. If you have a good tool, invariably someone will use it in a way that was previously not considered or maybe even intended. Does that make the new application somehow wrong or evil?
As for ghost tweeting, I suppose it comes down to basically what Liana is saying in the video. It’s about the expectations of your followers. If they are following you because you are ‘you’ and ‘you’ are Tweeting about you (which is just creepy)… you may need to do your own updates. Otherwise, if the people following your account seem to be engaged and interested in what you are putting up there, then what in the world difference does it make as to who pushed the update button?
So where do you stand on this whole ‘ghost tweeting’ thing? Sound off in the comments.
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About the Author:
Mike has been covering ebusiness and the search industry for WebProNews since 2000.
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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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