In the heat of most blogging arguments, Shel "It depends" Holtz is Mr. neutral. He prides himself in seeing the merits of both sides of an argument. Although I am very different than that, I have usually admired it. Sometimes it has frustrated me, because I knew that Shel believed as I believed during some controversies, but chose to speak with greater ambivalence.
That is why it gave me so much pleasure to read his post this morning on ghost blogging. He's against it, because:
"... blogs were created and popularized by people who were fed up with traditional business communication channels. They had had enough of fabricated quotes in press releases and speeches read by executives but written by professional speech writers. These people wanted authentic conversations with real human beings. A ghost-written executive blog is the opposite of what blogs were created for; it is counterintuitive to the 10th tenet of Christopher Carfi’s Social Customer Manifesto: 'I want to do business with companies that act in a transparent and ethical manner.' "
Shel, thanks for taking a side on this one. I know it was probably difficult for you, but once you get used to it, maybe you'll do it more often.
Blogging is not all about well turned phrases. It's about letting people see there are real human beings inside that corporate entity, real people doing real jobs; real people who have grammatical flaws and typos as well as human frailties.
That does not come through if you use a mouthpiece, no matter how accurate that mouthpiece is. Holtz revisited the argument that a good ghost writer is like someone who signs for a deaf person, who simply and accurately translates what is being said. This is a subject I know a small amount about and no signer ever gets the exact translation. There are arguments that interpreters have caused wars by losing subtleties in the translation.
I have been a ghost writer for both executives and politicians. I was very good at capturing the style of the people contracting me. But there is no single piece I ever wrote where just a tiny bit of me has not shined through.
Good call, Shel.