Ghost Blogging Ethics Across the Globe

The world is getting flatter - as shown by my conversation at a recent party (same one from yesterday's post) with a German publicist named  Robert. Inevitably, the topic of blogging came up and Robert gave me an interesting perspective on the blogging beliefs across the pond. He explained that in Germany, blogging is seen more as serious journalism instead of the seemingly incoherent ramblings he runs accross in the U.S. Robert also brought up the trend of ghostblogging, stating that so many American companies have a marketing/PR/communications person actually posting the content based on the ideas of the CEO. To Robert, ghostblogging is in violation of his PR ethics (typing that out sounds like an oxymoron...but I digress).

Shel Holtz posted a well thought out commentary on the ghostblogging debate. I agree with his points:

"The best analogy for good ghost blogging is signing for the deaf, which transmits the exact words and inflection of the speaker deaf members of the audience cannot hear."

And...

"if a business leader ultimately does opt to have someone else handle the writing of the blog, he should disclose it. What’s the harm in a statement like this on an executive blog: “Welcome to my blog. Several times each week, I articulate my thoughts to Mary Jones, who runs communications for the company, and she posts them here ensuring that I make the points I want to make. But rest assured, while Mary makes me sound better, the messages you read are mine; they come from my heart and I read all the comments myself.”

To me, this is the bottom line - to commit to a quality blog takes an investment of time. If you are positioning the blog as the voice of one person - it should be THAT person who is posting to keep the voice authentic. S/he may have a team of people gathering research and submitting ideas (similar to a speechwriter) but the ultimate delivery is the decision of the blogger.

If time does not allow for this investment, why not turn the blog into the voice of the "company" instead of just the CEO? Time could be leveraged if multiple employees were encouraged to submit their thoughts on a  particular topic. Granted - an editor would make sense for obvious legal resasons.