Chris Brogan wrote an interesting post last week about the ethics of outsourcing your voice. It bothers him that Ashton Kutcher and others have given up control of their Twitter accounts.
I agree that it’s a bit unsettling to find out that someone’s social communications may be handled by someone else, but according to Julie Ann-Amos, ghostwriting has been around since the written word. If a communication is what a person intends, if they approve the content for the message and tone of the message, does it become less authentic?
I don’t think so, but others such as Dave Fleet, argue for full disclosure in social media. He believes that when you hear speeches or read a book by someone, you have reason to believe a person has approved the words of the ghostwriter. In social media, Fleet argues, it is too easy to deceive.
I believe “outsourcing your voice” can add value to your communication. However, businesses must take responsibility to ensure that the message adequately represents them. A company blog or twitter account may be better a personal blog or twitter account for an executive who doesn’t want to be actively involved in the process of approving content.
When does outsourcing your voice makes sense?
1) You have good ideas, but you don’t like to write.
Just because you don’t like to write or have trouble with it, doesn’t mean you don’t have good ideas that are worth sharing. In fact, you probably have too many ideas. A writer can help you focus on communicating those ideas effectively. All writers, both professional and novice, benefit from proofreaders and editors.
2) Your time is better spent doing something else.
If you don’t write for a living, it may take you two days to compose what would take a professional writer an hour. What is the best use of your time? For this very reason, I no longer try and solve technical issues on my blog. IT problems that would take me hours to research and resolve, can be fixed in minutes by professionals. Stick what you know and get help with what you don’t know.
3) You want to build a professional image and brand.
Quality content is the primary reason why anyone follows you on twitter, reads your blogs or purchases your book. Professional writing will help you showcase your knowledge and build a professional image. Content writers can help you develop quality content that meets the needs of your target audience.
Am I wrong in believing that it is OK to outsource your voice? Are social media ghostwriters so different than ghostwriters of speeches or books? What are the new rules of engagement?