Guy Kawasaki Discloses Ghost Writers, Defuses Issue

I’ve written several posts on ethics and ghost blogging recently, so it’s hardly surprising that when I spotted a post suggesting one of the biggest names in social media has other people write under his name, I paid attention.

Bottom line: Guy Kawasaki, creator of Alltop and Truemors, has three other people writing through his Twitter account on his behalf.

Aran Hamilton chose to use the first post on his new blog to discuss how this changes his view of Guy (disclosure: Aran is a client, but we are not involved with his personal blog). Like Aran, although I’ve never met Guy I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s accomplished, which was initially shaken somewhat by this news.

Here’s the situation, in Guy’s own words (from the iampaddy blog):

“…there are two people who tweet on my behalf. One, @amoxcalli, is a grandmother in LA who has an exquisite eye for the interesting and controversial. She adds about five tweets per day. The other is @billmeade. He is the best beta tester of books that I have ever met. I wish he would do more, but he does about one tweet every two days or so.”

To put this in context, Kawasaki posts about 35 messages to Twitter per day according to Tweetstats. Of these, again according to Kawasaki:

  • One is an automated Alltop announcement
  • 10-15 are automated tweets from Truemors
  • Five or six are undisclosed messages from other people
  • The rest (doing the math, 13-19 tweets or thereabouts) are from Kawasaki

I have no fundamental problem with the automated tweets. I don’t like them personally – they’re the reason I don’t follow @guykawasaki on Twitter – but from an ethical standpoint I have no concerns and from what I understand they work well for Guy.

However, I do have a problem with undisclosed authors.

The problem with ghost-writing in Twitter

The person who is posting many of the messages to this popular account (over 90,000 followers) may not be the person you thought. In fact, that’s the case in up to a third of cases on some days (taking the clearly automated messages out of the equation).

In cases where the ghost writers work on behalf of someone with a large personal brand, this kind of practice is even more grating. The brand is built on the trust of people who believe they are reading the thoughts of the person who is named.

The other authors were, last night, not disclosed anywhere on either Guy’s account or on those of the others involved. 

To me this represented a lapse in judgement. Guy has plenty of interesting things to say himself, so why have other people write for you?

Guy Kawasaki responds

I emailed Guy to get his comments on this issue. His answers, in typical Guy Kawasaki style, were up-front and to the point (it was also late last night – thanks, Guy, for the quick reply).

DF: In your interview with Paddy Donnelly, you mentioned that two other people contribute to your Twitter account. This was a couple of months ago. Is it still the case?

GK: There are still two people (and very infrequently a third) who tweet for me. Gina Ruiz and Annie Colbert. Bill Meade does from time to time.

DF: Why did you decide to have other people write under your name?

GK: Because I want a constant stream of the most interesting links in all of Twitter.

DF: Do you feel it is misleading to have other people write under your name on Twitter?

GK: Nope–especially because I don’t hide the fact.

DF: Have you considered disclosing the other authors in your profile?

GK: That’s a good idea. I just changed it. Never thought of that.

DF: How do you feel about the ethical issues raised by ghost writing using social media tools in general?

GK: Surely, there are more important things to think about.

Closing thoughts

I appreciate the honesty in Guy’s answers, although his dismissal of ethical issues worries me. Still, Guy is well known for his pragmatic style so a philosophical debate over ethics is unlikely to be priority #1. For me, however, ethical issues are important ones to discuss.

I’m especially happy that Guy chose to amend his Twitter profile to disclose the other authors. Indeed, I turned-on my computer this morning and he has already changed his bio.

That’s a smart move and, for me, defuses most of the controversy around the issue. While I still think that having other people tweet for you isn’t a great approach, this removes some of my concerns. Still, how do we know if it’s Guy writing in any particular case?

From the poll I ran on a recent post, about two thirds of people think that, with disclosure, this kind of practice is ok. 

What do you think?

(Image credit: hawaii)

157 Responses toGuy Kawasaki Discloses Ghost Writers, Defuses Issue

  • Dave,
    I had not heard of Guy Kawasaki’s ghost-tweeting. Thank you for posting and tweeting it.
     
    While I follow Guy, I don’t often read his blog. If he says he doesn’t “hide the fact” of others using his Twitter account and posing as him, then why did he update his account only when you contacted him?
     
    While he may not hide it, it seems he’s not eager to disclose it on his own. That’s a huge red flag. (If it’s clear elsewhere, I apologize.)
     
    And, I agree with you and am concerned that Guy doesn’t think ghost-blogging, -twitterting is an important enough ethical issue. It kind of takes him down a couple notches in my book. (Though, practically-speaking, he wouldn’t care what I thought.)
     
    In my discussions with Toledo-area social media professionals, many seem to be open to the ghost services — and that’s scary. PR has enough troubling issues already, to add ghost-twittering & etc. to the list won’t help.
    Take care,
    -Mike

  • Ghost writing is more pervasive than we may think (reviews/forums/blog posts/tweets). It’s just that Guy Kawasaki has a higher profile so anything associated with him would be picked up. I think he responded well but yes, not addressing the ethics of doing this is of concern. Not concerned about him in particular, but the whole notion that ethics is not important enough to write about or discuss. It IS important and we all should have a sense of what is ethically correct. It would be nice other comments on this – perhaps a post on ethics in general…hmmm blog idea 🙂

  • Dave:
    Great post. I’m not sure that I want to let him off the hook so easily. I suppose for those users that research his interviews and blog, it is possible to learn that his twitter persona is actually an aggregate of people who he thinks are brilliant. But I think that this breaks the spirit of an implicit contract amongst Twitter users. I mean, we’re choosing to down shots of 140-characters-or-less; it seems counter-intuitive that in order to know who we’re dealing with we have to perform complicated forensics beyond reading a profile and satisying ourselves through tweets that someone is who they say they are.
     
    No, I think a trust has been broken here though he’s right, there are bigger things in life to worry about.
     
    At the recent PodCamp, I asked a couple of presenters about the issues surrounding ghost-twittering for an artist (my wife) who isn’t inclined to spend much time at a computer or smartphone (jazz singers can be funny that way). The consensus was that the genuine article is best, but in a pinch full-disclosure that a proxy was doing the writing would be sufficient. But where does that disclosure take place? And how would a casual user bellying up to get a quickie at the Twitterbar know?
     
    If Guy Kawasaki had called himself GuyKawasaki&Friends there would be no issue here. But the authentic voice thing is going to be a real hot button for this service as it seeks to monetize. I hope that some wrong decisions towards using it solely as a marketing channel don’t strip it of it’s primary qualities.
     
    Thanks for the balanced article; it has created much food for thought.

  • Thanks for linking to my original post on this. I’ve followed up with an update, and there’s some commentary at my blog at http://www.aranhamilton.com

    Jesse summed up a thought that had crossed my mind (but I’d been too bashful to blog) “I think that this breaks the spirit of an implicit contract amongst Twitter users.” Twitter is open to all – anyone and everyone can share their ideas. I believe that a contract exists that states: Thou Shalt Not Take Credit For Another Person’s Posts (even with their permission). It’s just not authentic.

    Guy is Guy and that’s not gonna change. But I find it disappointing that he dismissed Dave’s question about ethics. For a man who has so much riding on his personal brand it’s a really confusing that Guy responds to a question about integrity with the quip ”Surely, there are more important things to think about.”

  • Since I’m short on time, I’ll only post that Guy’s deflection of the ethical issues by saying “Surely, there are more important things to think about” is the kind of thing I’d expect to hear from a corporation taking cues from a PR agency during an image crisis, or a government that refuses to be held accountable for its mistakes.

    Guy lost me on that one comment.

  • I think Guy’s last response really gets it right. There are far more important things to think about.

    If these ghost-tweets were giving some kind of professional advice under Guy’s name, that might pose a real ethical problem. But that’s not what this sounds like.

    Really – aren’t there bigger ethical dilemmas in the social media space? This is barely a blip on the radar in comparison to most. I’d be more inclined to call someone (Guy or otherwise) unethical for essentially spamming Twitter and social networks with constant links to their blog posts (link spam deemed useful by those too lazy to subscribe to a simple RSS feed anymore – substituting updates for conversations).

    If we classify these rather basic types of ghost tweets as unethical, wouldn’t we have to classify much coming from PR and marketing folks as such?

    How about press releases contracted out to independent writers and consultants who aren’t handling the resulting media response (therefore not named on the release as a media contact or anything else)? How about anything put out by a speech writer? Or what about an internal newsletter contracted out to one or more freelance writers (commonly without credit)? What about a white paper credited to the company and not a specific writer (in-house or freelance – also not that uncommon)? What about ghostwritten feature articles often published in trade magazines and newspapers under an executive’s name for publicity’s sake? The list could go on.

    If there’s really that big of an ethical issue with ghost-tweeting, at least keep it in perspective. Perhaps Guy’s situation just wasn’t the best example.

  • I stopped following Guy in disappointment due to the fact that he uses his @guykawasaki address to spam alltop. I mean, isn’t that what the Alltop Twitter handle is for? I pinged him about this and he claimed that only 10% of his posts were Alltop spam. Not so:

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=p44CadMArFG4vhbh_yQjBQg

    I just look at a handful of days, but you can see that over a quarter of the time he is just spamming an Alltop section. This doesn’t even count the Alltop mentions or links to interviews with Guy about Alltop.

    I have a great deal of respect for what Guy has done, and would love to follow Guy the person – but using your own name as a spam vehicle is a recipe for failure on twitter.

  • “GK: Surely, there are more important things to think about.” Hahaha, I love that quote.

    But one thing that I think makes me regard Guy less now has to be his Twitter account description of “RSS merchandizer”. That sounds like a real greasy title.

    The blend of messages and ads based on his numbers are far too close in my eyes. Around 50% of his Twitter stream is advertising?

  • The most significant thing in this article is Guy’s last comment about “more important things.” Ghost writing is a long standing tradition. One of the big controversies of my seminary days was over who wrote the bible… newsflash! Chost writers! I often work as a ghost writer for a whole lot of different people. When I do so, I take it as a VERY big responsibility to address the issues from the POV and in the voice of the person I am writing for. THAT, to me is the “ethical” issue. Is what I write for someone else TRUE to them and their perspective?

  • It’s also good practice to disclose who posted the tweet on multiple user twitter accounts. That is giving credit where credit is due. http://twitter.com/sparkcbc does it by putting the initials of the poster at the end of the tweet.

  • Staff Writer
    ago11 years

    Having a ghost writer or being one is not unethical. It is a standard practice across industries, in both professional and personal writing. Thank God for ghost writers. Who would have time, otherwise? Also, I have seen so much atrocious writing and grammar on blogs, I would suggest more people hire them. Why struggle when there are professionals who could save time and embarrassment?

  • I’m sorry Dave, but this is just too nitpicky for my sensibilities. 98% of Guy’s tweets are links to interesting stories, news, etc. We’re not talking about him making value judgments or offering his personal opinion in any way, shape or form. We’re talking about links. I would contend that we learn less than half about who Guy Kawasaki is in a week’s worth of his tweets than we do in a single one of his blog posts; multiply that tenfold if you replace that blog post with an interview video.

    The point is, he’s not being disingenuous by employing ghost tweeters; he’s simply trying to spread the info, as do so many others (many of whom I’d bet heavily are getting a little help themselves given how many links THEY post).

    I appreciate Guy for what he does and even more for what he’s done in his non-Twitter existence. I really have to shake my head at the thought that this development should cause anyone consternation. Kawasaki has betrayed no one. Why don’t we give the guy (no pun intended) credit for wanting to actually have a life, y’know?

  • Actually, AJ, almost half of them are automated. Still, that’s a different issue.

    The bigger issue is, why do the figureheads need other people tweeting under their name? I’m fine with it ethically now that Guy discloses, but why is it necessary?

    Answer: visibility. These people are massively busy but, for their personal brand’s sake, they want to be seen constantly putting out content. It’s about them. Therefore, if it isn’t them and that’s not clear, that’s deceptive. I have a problem with that.

    I’m open to being convinced otherwise, but all I’ve seen so far is arguments that ghost writing happens in other channels so it must work here. Newsflash: this is a new channel, with different customs and different expectations.

    If I see a compelling argument, I’m willing to consider it.

  • The reason I believe the ethical issue of ghostwriting by individuals in social media is important to discuss is that it shifts the role of the individual from being a person to being an enterprise with a communications infrastructure.

    Why is it important for Guy to have three ghost Twitterers for which he gets the attribution of the extra work? Can’t those individuals contribute and communicate using their own accounts and Guy (or his ghosts) could retweet the content if it’s that important for his stream. So long as their thoughts make it to Twitter, it should satisfy Guy’s desire to have “a constant stream of the most interesting links in all of Twitter.”

  • I am new to Twitter and I am glad to see it’s out in the open. I always knew there was no way this Guy Kawasaki was doing all the posts himself. Too many sound generic, and I always wonder why these people never take the time to RT other posts.

    Granted whatever works for him is spot on… But, it was misleading especially when I have clients wondering how they could spend the time to “brand” themselves on any social network.

    It takes time and there has to be some format in this case (formula) or way clients can contract “twittering” for example. As far as I am concerned they could do the same with FF as long as it’s connected to Twitter, Technorati etc. Only drawback is people who ask you direct questions on lets say Twitter won’t get a response from you. Look we, as copywriters/social media people have to find a way to make all of this social networking seamless. Some choose to be upfront about it (in this case seems he was pressed into being honest) or have transparency from the onset…. this conversation can go on into analysis and what works for one client may not work for another. Therefore I won’t go on and on about my opinion lolol.

    It’s all so very confusing but suffice it to say you are my new hero for putting this out there!

  • “all I’ve seen so far is arguments that ghost writing happens in other channels so it must work here. Newsflash: this is a new channel, with different customs and different expectations.”

    Newsflash: Twitter isn’t as special as I think you think it is.

    Like it or not, Twitter has become a marketing tool just as many other SM tools have before it and as many more will down the road.

    New channel? Sure. I’ll give you that. But does that qualify it as something more “pure” than other channels, that is (or should be) immune to blatant marketing? It isn’t. As for whether it should be, well, I’m still not sure how anyone utilizing it to spam links to their blog (for that same visibility you’re talking about) could really make a believable case against it – glass houses and all.

    It’s my opinion that both can be equally unethical. But frankly, my opinion doesn’t really matter. Link spam on Twitter has become commonplace, and I know that won’t change. When the spammers annoy me, I de-follow them. If you find out someone’s using a ghostwriter, you have the option to do the same. Not finding out is a risk you take when you take part in any public medium (just as employing ghostwriters to post in that channel is a risk to someone’s own credibility).

    Who are you (or the collective “we” in the PR / communicators fields) to think that we make the rules or that our purposes and desires for that tool should have any impact on anyone else? This reminds me of the BS claims the PR crowd used to constantly make about blogs – that they were PR tools and just about any other use was “unethical” (such as those blogging as a business model).

    Twitter hasn’t been around long enough to develop true “customs.” It’s still morphing to an ever-growing and ever-changing audience. Beyond that, who’s to say whether ghostwriting on Twitter isn’t somewhat of a “custom” in itself? By its very nature, it’s unlikely you (or anyone else) know exactly how popular ghostwriting really is in that channel anyway.

  • Ghost writing is as old as the hills (or as old as the bible). Did you know that your favorite comic strip might not be drawn or written by the person who you THINK creates it (Charles Shultz was a notable exception to this practice). Bylines for columnists and book authors have been ghosted for ages. Many TV talking heads aren’t writing what they’re reading/reporting. I myself have ghosted articles and entire book chapters for well-known tech journalists. A byline is a brand. It’s up to the writer to preserve their brand equity by building their editorial team such that they ensure quality writing as good or better than what they would produce on their own. They should, and often do, edit it, as well as produce most of it themselves. That said, the ethical issue is an interesting (and old) one. I personally believe transparency is king, and anyone who is not producing 100% of their own work, regardless of the medium, should disclose that. That’s called honesty, and it also shows readers you value their loyalty, which further preserves the byline’s brand equity. Disclosure: Guy bylined the forward of two of my books.

  • Isn’t it ironic that this social media whippersnapper has a ghost writer while Jane Fonda, a 72 year old actor and celebrity who is still busy on stage and with various types of activism, takes the time to do her own tweeting *and* her own blogging. When asked about the possibility of ghost writing, Ms. Fonda’s response was: “I write my own blogs. Otherwise, I really don’t see the point.” Hmmm… So much for old-school.

    http://tinyurl.com/7vdfxw

    Let the ghost times roll….

  • Jenn – thanks for responding. I appreciate the opposing perspective.

    Link spam is a separate issue to ghost writing, and perhaps one for another day. If the glass houses comment is meant to be a shot at me, I’d invite you to check how many times I post about my site per day and what proportion of my twitterstream that comprises.

  • “Isn’t it ironic that this social media whippersnapper has a ghost writer while Jane Fonda, a 72 year old actor and celebrity who is still busy on stage and with various types of activism, takes the time to do her own tweeting *and* her own blogging. When asked about the possibility of ghost writing, Ms. Fonda’s response was: “I write my own blogs. Otherwise, I really don’t see the point.” Hmmm… So much for old-school.”

    Does Fonda ever have an understudy ready if she can’t go on with her stage work? If people are paying specifically to see her, would that be unethical too? Really – why compare apples to oranges? Fonda and Kawasaki are hardly comparable in their approach and what the “norm” might be in each of their industries (one of the biggest mistakes the “SM gurus” make is treating social media the same from one industry to the next without adapting the strategies and tools).

    In this comparison though, Guy isn’t employing ghostwriters to share his personal stories and experiences (which is what Fonda references in her blog post). He has people helping him link to interesting things on the Web – big difference.

    Don’t get me wrong – it’s wonderful if Fonda, or any celebrity, is making time for their fans through a personal blog like that. But that doesn’t mean everything else is intended to be equally personal, nor should every potential use SM be held against or compared to all others.

  • Jenn… I’ve never heard of a theatre disguising the understudy as the star or hiding scheduled appearances of the understudy from the ticket buying public. In that respect, this is an apples to apples discussion. Besides, we weren’t talking about GK taking the stage for JF. We’re talking about Jane Fonda Twittering her own links and writing her own blog posts. More importantly, we’re talking about @janefonda being a personal Twitter account and @guykawasaki as having secretly made the jump from personal to enterprise.

  • I don’t follow Kawasaki since his stream would annoy the heck out of me.

    I’d go with the comments that suggest he’s only being upfront about it since being “found out”. Makes you wonder about his other “enterprises” and how much is actually his choices and not some stranger in a remote part of the country.

  • “Link spam is a separate issue to ghost writing, and perhaps one for another day. If the glass houses comment is meant to be a shot at me, I’d invite you to check how many times I post about my site per day and what proportion of my twitterstream that comprises.”

    I think it is definitely relevant to this issue, given that we’re talking about link-oriented tweets, strictly for visibility. Had the discussion started in reference to ghostwriters tweeting personal or experience-based information for someone else, it might be a different story.

    I think you also made it a part of the discussion by emphasizing in your closing remarks how important ethics are to you – if so, it’s certainly relevant to question your own potential ethical issues in the same channel, no? Especially since you then brought up the supposed “customs” in ethical behavior on Twitter – popular behavior isn’t necessarily ethical.

    As for proportions, does it really matter? If Guy had only one ghostwriter instead of 3, how much would that change your views on the ethics of it? What if that one ghostwriter only wrote 3 tweets out of the 35 instead of 5-6? How about if it were only once daily? Logic would say if someone’s problem were with the ghostwriting itself (assuming undisclosed, since that was the general issue), the frequency really shouldn’t matter. I’d argue the same of the link spam, so perhaps I fail to see your point on that aspect.

    No one is 100% ethical in everyone’s eyes (I know I’m certainly not). But I think it’s silly to a degree to make ethical judgment calls about assumed “customs” and violations thereof, when you yourself are engaging in practices of questionable ethics in that same medium (and in a much more measurable and obvious way). I have to assume you have no ethical problem with the link “spam” or you wouldn’t be doing it. Would me calling you out stating otherwise mean that you should immediately change your practices in some way? Of course not. And neither should anyone employing ghostwriters in a way they can justify as being ethical.

    Anyway, I do hope you’ll post on the potential link spam issues of Twitter as well. I’d be interested in seeing what you consider spam and what you don’t, what frequencies you deem acceptable, and what you think about link spam on Twitter versus other common outlets (such as social network comments and messages, garbage press releases solely for links – very hot in the SEO world, or adding one’s own links obsessively to social bookmarking services). Genuinely curious to hear your thoughts.

  • The distinction I’d make here, and the reason I think it’s a different topic, is because I’m not pretending to be someone else.

    I’ll take your suggestion on that issue and add it to my list of topics to write about, though – I’ve often wondered about whether it’s a good idea to do it, and it would be good to have a discussion on that.

    Like I said, though, that’s a different topic that doesn’t revolve around misleading people.

  • “Besides, we weren’t talking about GK taking the stage for JF. We’re talking about Jane Fonda Twittering her own links and writing her own blog posts. More importantly, we’re talking about @janefonda being a personal Twitter account and @guykawasaki as having secretly made the jump from personal to enterprise.”

    Personal vs enterprise is exactly my point. Fonda is using the tools for more personal communication (and that’s great – really). Kawasaki is using the tools blatantly for marketing (and that itself I don’t think has been disguised in any way). They’re two different animals living in the same environment. Rules that apply to one don’t necessarily apply to the other. It doesn’t make one “right” and one “wrong” (no matter how much many of us might despise that second group at times for the spammy nature of the tweets – whether ghostwritten, automated, or just entirely self-serving).

    “I’d go with the comments that suggest he’s only being upfront about it since being “found out”. Makes you wonder about his other “enterprises” and how much is actually his choices and not some stranger in a remote part of the country.”

    Rather than deciding based on other comments, why not read the actual interview where Guy brings it up (linked above in the post)? He wasn’t “found out” in any way there. He didn’t have to say a word about ghostwriters. He chose to mention them, and chose to give them credit there (in January). But perhaps I missed something and he was called out prior to that about the issue (if so, please correct me – it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve made a mistake). Aran’s post calling the issue out, while listed first here, actually came much later (about 2 months).

    “The distinction I’d make here, and the reason I think it’s a different topic, is because I’m not pretending to be someone else. ”

    There’s more to behaving ethically than being transparent – and remember that no one had to exactly twist his arm about it. He was asked a simple question and chose to talk about the ghostwriters. He certainly didn’t have to come out and name them – completely voluntary. Not everyone in business comes out and shares what every person is doing behind the scenes. Sometimes there’s no real need (which I’d argue is the case with something like posting links), and sometimes it just isn’t something they think to do – not that they’re intentionally trying to be secretive. I’m just not willing to assume I know his original intentions as some seem to. Call me naive if you will.

    On another note entirely, I just want to emphasize I’m not a Kawasaki fan in any way, and I’d be annoyed as all hell by his Twitter stream (I don’t follow him). I’m not saying everything he does is in the right by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just not foolish enough to think I, as an individual, know what that “right” thing to do is for every person in a particular situation, and I know not everyone would agree with me. This obviously works quite well for Guy. It wouldn’t work well for someone in PR where transparency is a hot button issue. But I doubt most of Guy’s followers are going to jump ship over it – and frankly I think there’s a lesson to be learned in that itself. Maybe Guy’s right in saying it’s more about what’s being said than who’s saying it (also in the interview linked from this post).

    Perhaps the real question is this: Should companies or executives have to disclose things in every possible new media outlet that their customers / audience might follow, or is it the responsibility of those people to do their research on the Web as much as they would have to offline before making decisions about people (or brands)? In the grand scheme of things, which is worse – corporate dishonesty (or lack of transparency) or lazy consumerism?

    Anyway, I’ll look forward to your thoughts on the link spam issue separately.

  • And is there a trick to getting the comment spacing right here? I see a few folks’ comments display correctly early on, but the rest are rather squished from one paragraph to the next. Or are the Wordpress gremlins just making things difficult?

  • I think you’re not quite connecting with what I feel the main issue is, Jenn. Guy WAS using his Twitter account as a digital representation of himself and his ideas. At some point, he decided to make his personal identity into an enterprise by delegating communications to an anonymous and unidentified team. The ethical issue isn’t the nature of the content in his Twitter stream, it’s the source of that content and the transparency. Even more concerning is that when he was asked to comment on the ethical issue, he basically said “no comment” — a decidedly broadcast media response from a social media evangelist.

    I suspect that for many, this will call into question the relevance and legitimacy of Guy’s digital network and some of his work.

  • Dave (or is it?), this may or may not be me who is or is not commenting on your (or someone else’s) blog post. How can we be sure?

    In all seriousness, if Guy was upfront about his ghost writers on day one, I would have much more respect for him. This issue didn’t come out until he had 90,000 followers all believing that he sat on his computer day and night scouring for the best material to share.

    Disclosure once the cops catch you with the loot in your hand is not disclosure.

    This may or may not be my opinion, but who is to be sure this is really me …or you?

  • “The ethical issue isn’t the nature of the content in his Twitter stream, it’s the source of that content and the transparency. Even more concerning is that when he was asked to comment on the ethical issue, he basically said “no comment” — a decidedly broadcast media response from a social media evangelist.

    I suspect that for many, this will call into question the relevance and legitimacy of Guy’s digital network and some of his work.”

    You’re certainly entitled to your thoughts on it, just as I’m entitled to disagree (I don’t expect to sway everyone to my viewpoint).

    I do in fact think the type of content plays a role. No one will ever likely convince me that who posts a link matters. And I’ll probably be amused long into the future that people in one of the most ghostwriting-heavy industries out there are so quick to scream “lack of transparency” every time something like ghostblogging or ghost-tweeting comes up.

    And obviously we read Guy’s answer differently. You take it as “no comment.” I take it to mean he really doesn’t consider it enough of an ethical issue to be worth saying anything else. And he’s as entitled to that opinion as we are to ours.

  • Y’see, Mark? There’s the part I don’t get from your side of the aisle. Who cares? Why should any of this call into question anyone’s legitimacy? Does the fact that he didn’t post it make the links’ value any less?

    I can understand if someone is a little miffed because Guy isn’t the non-stop posting machine you though he was, but how relevant is that really? And how realistic? Did you think about how much time it would take to average 35 tweets — links at that — each and every day? Never mind that most of them are automated; it still takes time to set those up and to at least do cursory research on all of them. I mean, com’on!

    Guy Kawasaki has what? 4 or 5 kids? He’s every bit as much a family man as he is a businessman. I respect him for that because I know how fine a line I have to walk in not tweaking my own wife off with the amount of time *I* spend on Twitter, which is minuscule, compared to most ‘power users.’

    Sure he was trying to pad his image a bit; who among us hasn’t? (Be honest, now…)

    All I’m saying is, we’re not talking about blatant deception; we’re not talking about a blatant cover-up; we’re talking about a sin of omission — not one of commission.

    I can certainly forgive GK for that.

  • I hate the idea of ghostwriters, but not as much as I hate the alltop spam. I do wish they’d identify with initials at the end of the tweets, so at least maybe we could identify a personality.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind so much if he had a few people following thousands of accounts and retweeting the really interesting stuff anonymously. Retweeting, to me, seems a whole different ball of wax.

    I do follow a few multi-user twitter accounts, but most seem to use ^PC type initials to identify the individual making the tweet.

  • Jenn – re: formatting – it’s gremlins I’m afraid. I can go through and insert spaces in each blank line, but it’ll have to be tonight when I’m not at work. Not sure if you can do that as you create comments.

    Note to self: get that fixed…

Trackbacks & Pings

  • felineslade (felineslade) :

    Twitter Comment


    Are Twitter ghost-writers ok? [link to post] Maybe it’s in how you use/perceive Twitter. I have to think about this one.

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • mathewi (Mathew Ingram) :

    Twitter Comment


    not only does @guykawasaki spam Twitter with automated tweets, but he has other people write them: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • PreetChandhoke (PreetChandhoke) :

    Twitter Comment


    RT @mathewi: not only does @guykawasaki spam Twitter with automated tweets, but he has other people write them: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • mojosd (mobile jones) :

    Twitter Comment


    RT @mathewi not only does @guykawasaki spam Twitter with automated tweets, but he has other people write them: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • hjsblogger (Himanshu Sheth) :

    Twitter Comment


    RT: @unmarketing: Great post and comments on @davefleet’s blog about Guy Kawasaki’s Twitter account [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • Don_Crowther (DonCrowther) :

    Twitter Comment


    Are you using ghost #writers on Twitter? Guy #Kawasaki and other top twitters do! [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • QuickAmusements (Thom Butler) :

    Twitter Comment


    I left a comment on the @davefleet tempest in a teapot over ghost tweeters. Talk about a non-controversy! [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • philyeh (Phil Yeh) :

    Twitter Comment


    Interesting. @guykawasaki has multiple ghost-writers for his Twitter: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • SEOcopy (Gabinator ) :

    Twitter Comment


    Guy Kawasaki Discloses Ghost Writers, Defuses Issue [link to post] (wake up people We are GHOST writers)

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • MosesHawk (Moses Hawk) :

    Twitter Comment


    Reader aware: Kawasaki tweet stream is a team effort (not that there is anything wrong with that) [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • Marcus_Andrews (Marcus Andrews) :

    Twitter Comment


    @DaveFleet ‘s pesky “Ethics” get @guykawasaki to list his ghost writers on twitter bio, bravo Dave: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • peterkay (Peter Kay) :

    Twitter Comment


    Guy Kawasaki pilikia (trouble) for ghost twitting? [link to post] you decide @neenz what’s your take?

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • lilliamr (lilliamr) :

    Twitter Comment


    Reading: Guy Kawasaki Discloses Ghost Writer. [link to post] I DON”T HAVE A PROBLEM IF HE DISCLOSES ON BIO.

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • RobinYasinow (Robin Yasinow) :

    Twitter Comment


    Great dialog on ghost blogging: “Guy Kawasaki Discloses Ghost Writers, Defuses Issue” [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • derekeb (Derek) :

    Twitter Comment


    Guess which person has a social-media ghost-writer: @JaneFonda or @GuyKawasaki ? [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • shellykramer (ShellyKramer) :

    Twitter Comment


    Interesting via @SEOCopy – take the poll, what do u think? “Guy Kawasaki Discloses Ghost Writers, Defuses Issue”. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • tomguarriello (Dr. Tom Guarriello) :

    Twitter Comment


    @guykawasaki has others writing tweets under his name [link to post]. Thoughts?

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago