The weekend bitchmeme came a little early this week in the form of Twitter ghostwriting. Sarah Perez has a good overview on ReadWriteWeb. The general idea is that some celebrities and brands are not being written by who we thought they were being written by. So if someone has a ghostwriter, people are complaining about the lack of openness and transparency. Why do we care? Duncan Riley mentions the problem and includes a quote from Stowe Boyd:
The problem here is that Kawasaki sees Twitter as a content platform vs a social networking platform. Stowe Boyd: “Connectedness is king: it’s social media, right? The social is supposed to equate to real live human beings communicating with each other. Not ‘bots, and ghosts, and things that go bump in the night.”
Normally I agree with Duncan, but not today. To use Duncan’s words, the problem here is that Duncan sees Twitter as a social networking platform vs a broadcasting medium. Twitter is a tool just like any other application on the web. It allows people to broadcast anything they want as long as it fits within 140 characters. There are no rules on what you put onto your Twitter stream. Some people use it to broadcast what new posts they have written. Other people try to chat with others, and other people just ask questions and wait to see what response they get.
So, why do we care about ghostwriters? I have no idea. Some people feel that if the early adopter set is going to be open about who we are on Twitter, then everyone else should. Ghostwriting may be annoying if you thought that you were talking to the actual person, but at least they are trying. They are taking the opportunity to start talking to people even if it is through a “handler”. Granted, I have no interest in chatting with the celebrities on Twitter, so I may not be the person you want to listen to.
I think we need to remember something very important. There is very little spam on Twitter. Yes, you do need to follow people to see their tweets, but anyone can @ reply to people. Many people using Twitter have a way to see @ replies regardles of whether they are following the source of the tweet. Where is the spam? Well, the Twitter team has been making an effort to curb mass following and “suspicious activity”. Personally, I will take the ghostwriting as long as the Twitter team keeps the spam away. If you do not like the ghostwriting, you have the choice to stop following that person. Oh, and before anyone asks, I do not use a ghostwriter on Twitter or any other social media site 🙂