(Rachael Peli) Have you ever noticed that some of your favorite social media gurus and bloggers seem to post around the clock? I follow a good number of public relations professionals on Twitter, for example, and when I have insomnia, I tend to pick up my smartphone and read the latest PR posts and news. Now I know that these posts aren’t targeted at me because many of these PR pros have a global audience. The 3 a.m. tips on how to write the perfect headline are targeted at the followers on the other side of the world where it’s 3 p.m.
I can’t help but wonder how it would feel to trust my ghost-posters while I sleep at night, especially now that Mark Davidson’s Twitter hit the news. (The latest updates from the Davidson Twitter account rant suggest that the entire fiasco was a staged event to get more followers and traffic. Self-defamation for the sake of coverage is perhaps another title for another post.)
We would all like to believe that those whom we have deemed important enough to follow are doing the actual writing, but more often companies and individuals are hiring a team of ghostwriters and/or automatic social network posting organizations. These automatic posting orgs will do industry news searches and then post as the writer, often linking back to the writer’s website to make each post personal. For example, three tech bloggers may want 24/7 coverage of tech news so they hire help. One hires a ghostwriter; the other two hire an automatic posting org. The ghostwriter may likely come up with more original and witty posts. The two others may have similar headlines but each will have links included that lead us back to their respective websites.
In either case, the person we hope is posting the content is not. In either case, the account owner runs the risk of exposure and embarrassment before thousands.
If I were one of these professionals and had a global following, I’d promise to post a certain number of original updates each week. How could I claim to be a great communicator or a social media professional if I’m never even active on my own accounts? The remainder of my posts and updates would come from one trusted ghostwriter that I would treat well and pay well.
Assuming the entire event was not fabricated, I’d be interested to know the legal action that someone like Mark Davidson could take at this point. Is this libel even though he gave the ghostwriter access to his account? Is there a clause in the contract that states the ghostwriter must not access Davidson’s account after termination? Was Davidson just silly for not changing his password?
Social networks are excellent places to tell your story and learn what your followers want/need. These companies and individuals miss opportunities to educate and respond when all interaction is “outsourced.”