The Ghost Poster Controversy

When I wrote up my thoughts about ghost posting as something writers might do for employment at time of shrinking jobs or for gaining more visibility by hiring others to post for them, I never imagined how controversial this topic would be. While some writers thought of being a social media ghost poster as a new kind of job they hadn't considered, other writers and some publicists for them were appalled. They felt that readers wanted to hear from the real writers, not their stand-ins, and they decried the fakery of someone posing as that writer.

Yet, in thinking about ghost posting, I wondered how this is different from the ghostwriter who pens a non-fiction book or novel for someone or from the speech writer who writes up what a politician, business person, or other speaker has to say. In fact, ghostwriting is a widely accepted profession today, and there is even an association of ghostwriters of which I'm a member. So how is ghost posting different? The posts may be shorter and many of them are scattered widely on the social media. But in essence all these writers are preparing copy to be used by someone else, and generally they are not recognized, since the client presents what they have written as their own.

The one type of ghostwriting that is frowned upon and may sometimes be illegal or result in severe consequences if discovered is academic ghosting, where a student presents someone else's work as their own. However, this is a different situation in that someone is getting graded for a course or being judged qualified to receive a degree based on someone else's work. So that person may not really be worthy of that degree and may even harm someone by their lack of qualification, such as the doctor or lawyer who earned a professional degree by someone else taking his or her exams. By contrast, when a ghostwriter is hired for a book or a speech, this type of writing contributes to the client's celebrity or presence and is widely accepted.

In any case, it seems like the use of ghost posters has been growing today along with the social media, and more and more writers are finding this a new type of career niche. I was even inspired by the controversy to write a song about this. I call it: “Ghost Poster,” and once the lyrics are finalized, someone will be writing and recording the music, and there may soon be a video. So here it is.

I once worked as a writer
Until money got tighter.
Now celebrities rule the day.
My old boss fired me.
But famous people hire me.
I'm their voice while they work and they play.
I don't care what you say.
At least ghost clients pay.
And ghost posting is what more and more people do.
I don't care if it's a sham.
A ghost poster is what I am.
And who knows, you could be a ghost poster, too.
So now I'm a ghost poster.
A social media ghoster,
I speak for others instead.
I'm their voice on Twitter.
Their Facebook babysitter.
I write like a ghost from the dead.
So …
Many don't like my work.
They say I'm being a jerk.
It's amazing how mad some folks feel.
They say it's all fake.
Like a fraud on the take.
When a writer should be the real deal.
But they're fine with ghost writers,
And press or speech writers.
Who write the words others speak.
Yeah, it's a crying shame,
If you don't have the fame,
But at least you get paid for the week.
So why not be a ghost poster if that's what it takes.
To survive in a time of more and more fakes?
So ….

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