Several years ago, I posted on my Facebook status that I was ghost blogging for a client. A few snarky comments aside, one of my friends, Ann Begler, principal of the Begler Group, which offers mediation services, asked if it was an ethical practice. She says she’d be reluctant to hire a social media ghostwriter. Ann’s not alone. It’s a common concern.
“In all of my work, as a mediator, conflict coach, organizational consultant, I’m working with my clients to help and guide them to engage in more open and direct communication, even when that’s difficult,” she says. “Using a ghostwriter seems to be the antithesis of that.”
She could see using a researcher to help assemble factual data that might be part of her blog or tweet. “That’s different, though, from ghostwriting,” she adds.
Many business executives are hiring writers to craft their social media content because of their busy schedules. In fact, social media guru, Guy Kawasaki, stirred up some debate in the Twittersphere when he revealed he uses ghostwriters. And it was only about two years into this presidency that President Barack Obama posted his first tweet even though his account was active since his campaign. Turns out his staff were the ones tweeting all this time. Even the ageless George Takei admitted to using a ghostwriter to write some of his Facebook posts from time to time.
If you’re going to hire a social media ghostwriter, here are some guidelines to follow to work effectively with your cyber alter ego and avoid crossing that ethical line.