The story so far
Ghost writing can kill you. Or at least, it can kill your reputation. Ask Mark Davidson, Social Marketing & Communications Strategist at Shift+One Media, who (if all the story is true and not justa a stunt to get some media coverage) in the last few hours had his Twitter account and his credibility devastated by someone who claims to be “one of his three ghost writers”. The one he got fired after 4 years.
This guy logged into Davidson’s Twitter account at night while “drunk and hungry”, then published 8 updates to Davidson’s 55,642 followers.
The first one:
– “Hi. I’m one of three people who have been ghostwriting @markdavidson‘s tweets for the last 4 years while he is out playing golf.”
Then the second one:
– “Well yesterday, @markdavidson fired 1 of his 3 ghostwriters of the last 4 years and forgot to change his Twitter password.”
Then he (or she) goes on saying that Davidson “is not that nice and is cheap”. But the most juicy tweet is this one:
– “So let me mow tell you the truth about @markdavidson. He can barely type social media much less know what it is“.
The mess ends with a sharable advice: “And change your freakin’ password!”.
Now, that was two days ago. Then something even worse happened when what probably was one of the two remaining ghost writer logged into Davidson’s account after the attack. At first, he published a strange tweet speaking like he didn’t read what was published before. And then:
– Oh. I am so not dealing with this **** today. My only responsibility on this account is to respond to *all* @replies and @mentions. I quit.
Then comes this one:
– WANTED: Social Media Account Ghost Writer. We’ve recently had an opening at http://twitter.com/#!/markdavidson. (Serious inquiries only.)
and then another one so far, which is my favorite one:
– Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, the previously scheduled blog post, “How To Tweet Like a Boss” will not be posted today.
Yes. Good idea. Better not to.
The lesson to be learned
Now, If this is all this a joke, I just don’t get it. It could be a stunt to get some free coverage, or an experiment, but how is Davidson going to manage the aftermath? We’ll see.
In any case, what happened here points out that there’s an important lesson on how to deal professionally with social media to be learned: if you are a public speaker, a politician, a manager or whatever and you want to be on Twitter, it would be better if you manage your account by yourself.
On the other side, What to do if you want to be there but don’t have enough time to manage a real-time conversation? In that case you can hire one or more people to help you tweeting. There’s no shame in that: not if you are the one telling them what to write, if do you follow the conversation by yourself and do try to understand how this social network (or any other you want to be involved into) really works. And, above all, if you tell your readers the truth, that you are beeing helped, that there’s a stuff of smart people updating the account for you. Being honest with your followers is the most important thing. Tell them the truth and let them decide either to stay or go. Believe me, you’ll be surprised. And you’ll earn trust.
If you do so, then who manually write down and the publishes you updates or monitor your followers, could be irrelevant. First and foremost if you
– follow the conversation;
– get involved;
– tweet anytime you can (and when you do, tell you follower it’s you like President Obama does;
– give answers;
And – please – choose carefully the people you are going to give your password to. Just as careful as if you were giving them your latchkeys.
It’s exactly the same thing.