If Jane Fonda sees the point, so can you

Doing a little research on ghost writing and ghost blogging for a client assignment, I came upon a simple perspective by Jane Fonda.

The legendary actress, who started writing her blog in January (she’s also now on Twitter), has a clear view about who writes content on her blog and why.

[…] I write my own blogs. Otherwise, I really don’t see the point. If I want to take people through the experience of doing a Broadway play after 46 years, I have to do it myself. So there!

I’ve said before that I have no problem with ghost blogging as long as it’s disclosed. And when I say I have no problem with it, I mean that from the transparency point of view, not the communication effectiveness point of view (I don’t think it’s effective at all and I won’t read anyone’s content once I find out its ghosted).

Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers in the US (and a blogger who I first discovered in 2004 and who’s been in my RSS reader ever since), has an authoritative view on that subject in a well-written post that makes a clear case for DIY:

[…] You can hire a ghost writer to write a book. You might even be able to hire someone to write an occasional op-ed piece or magazine article. Usually, no one will even know unless you choose to tell them.

But this is not true with blogs. It is especially not true with Twitter. If you try, you will be found out. Your readers will know and the word will spread. You will be considered a “poser,” someone pretending to be something they are not. And trust me, word will spread. In the end, you will do irreparable damage to your personal brand.

Well said. If you feel you can’t devote the time needed to write your own blog, or do your own tweets, then don’t do them at all. Don’t have someone else do them on your behalf. It’s your authentic voice that I want to hear, not a proxy’s even if it’s disclosed – something people like the American entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki might want to think about, too.

Otherwise, what’s the point? Which is what Jane said.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. davefleet

    I agree. Now, with that said, I think Guy responded well when I emailed about his ghost writers. I still don’t think it’s the best way to go about it, but now that my concerns over misleading people are satisfied, I’m ok. I don’t agree with the way he uses it, but I’m sure it works the other way too – he likely finds my tweets banal and value-less. It comes down to personal preference on that one.

  2. neville

    Dave, I thought he came across very poorly with his responses about ghost writing and tweeting.

    I think such behaviours are bad, and severely bad when done without disclosure (as Guy Kawasaki’s were until you pointed it out to him).

    I like a lot this view of Guy Kawasaki by Stowe Boyd as reported by the Blog Herald:

    […] just stating that the Twittosphere is a meritocracy, and the cream rises, etc., does not justify ghostwriting. There is a really important difference if the CEO writes those particular words himself, even if his grammar is bad.

    In essence, Guy is saying that when you see something under his byline on the web may not be actually penned by him. He is more like Newsweek than a person, and that’s ok, but should be made very very clear.

    From my perspective, his personal identity has been hollowed out into a brand, like Colonel Sanders or Aunt Jemima: there may not be a person there at all.

    I agree, he has diluted his brand and risks dimishing trust in him.

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