Monday, April 14, 2008

The Weirdness of Ghostwritten Blogs

Blogs are proliferating so rapidly because they a) are fun to read b) rank better than just about anything in search engines and c) provide a personal way to get information. When you read a blog, you get the information from a real person, or group of people, rather than from a faceless website. You build up trust in the person you're reading week after week. I personally think that's the main draw- you get to know these people through what they write and how they deliver their information. So, what if the whole thing is put on?

I'm mainly a ghostwriter, meaning that I'm undead and float around. Ok, it just means that my name doesn't go onto most of what I write and often someone else's name does. It can be irritating to see something you slaved over being published with someone else's name on it, but that's the nature of the biz. The buyer pays, they own the work and they can put Bozo the clown's name on it if they so choose. The only time it really feels weird is when this occurs with a blog. I've ghostwritten several blogs now and I still find it strange. I enjoy it, blogs have been some of my very favorite jobs, but it's still a little odd.

Imagine that one of the blogs you read every week isn't really written by the name that's on it. Imagine that there is no one by that name- the name was made up by the blog owner who then pays the ghostwriter to create a personality to go along with it. That personality posts information in the blog week after week as readers come around and start reading it regularly. Pretty soon they feel like they know that fictitious person and trust what they're saying. Since I've been doing this I keep wondering- how many of the blogs I read are ghostwritten? How many of them have the owner's name on them when the owner has never written a word? And, how many have an entirely fake name attached to them? I'll bet I've made you wonder now too...

6 comments:

Bob Younce at the Writing Journey said...

Hi Lizz,

I happened by your blog this morning and I wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I've enjoyed some of your blog posts. I've thought, too, about how odd ghostwriting can be in general.

Of course, it's not new, or unique to the blogosphere. So many books have been written under a pseudonym or ghostwritten. Some scholars (and I'm not saying I agree, but it's a theory) believe that Shakespeare wasn't a single person, but rather a group of writers. Now, how does THAT change one's view of things?!

Wamblings said...

gahhhh, connection timed out so if you get this twice it's cause I think you didn't get it the first time.

My name is not Wamblings, or even actually Chame Leon (which is my pen name). I am not a ghost nor are my 11 (I think that is right) blogs ghost written. I'm just a blogging fool. *grins*

L. Shepherd said...

wamblings- Eleven?! There's no way I could keep up with that many. That's incredibly impressive.

B.Y.- Thanks! I'm sure there are many books that I've read that were ghostwritten. I've never bought the Shakespeare argument, but there are a lot of books today that rely heavily on ghostwriters. Even Tom Clancy uses one. I smell a blog post coming on...

Wamblings said...

LOL, who says I actually manage to keep up with all 11. Since yahoo seems to be abandoning 360 I may lose three (plus a shared one I didn't count) I'm thinking of going back through those and archiving them over at LJ, just for my own uses, though honestly I rarely ever go back and look at old posts. Still there are a lot of memories there. So lets see, there are 3 at MySpace, 1 on blogspot, 4 on LJ, 3 on 360, and that shared one that I no longer post at so it doesn't really count. Yep 11 if my math is up to snuff. Then of course there are two facebook accounts but I don't consider that blogging. Why so many? Well, there is in the closet and out of the closet, friend from different life points, family, my music career, somehow it just happened.

L. Shepherd said...

Are they abandoning 360? I hadn't heard that. I wonder why they would do that. They did have to abandon their auctions, though. Perhaps they simply can't handle having so many functions.

Wamblings said...

Last year they reported that they were completely revamping things and that there would be a new platform for blogging, supposedly they were trying to integrate the services. IM got merged into the email though it is still available separately as well (thankfully) and they quit supporting 360 which has proceeded to become more plagued with bugs than it was before. They promised us that our blog content would be protected, that it would be easy to migrate it into the new platform... I've lost faith. I know that within my circle, (particularly my out of the closet group) we loved our 360 community. I still pop in there to read their blogs but find it difficult to comment because of bugs in the system.

I personally don't want a fully integrated Yahoo. I have 6 Yahoo email accounts most of which I check regularly, but I do my IM from just one account and it would be a royal pain to have to switch IMs every time I wanted to check a different email account. :P don't even ask how many gmail/hotmail/photobucket... *saucy grin*