Who's Actually Writing Your Favorite Celebrity's Tweets?
Inside the world of social media ghostwriters.
Mon, September 16, 2013
IDG News Service —
But many of Takei's virtual admirers might be disappointed to know that Mr. Sulu is not solely responsible all that delightfulness. A few months back, the world learned that some of the humorous quips posted under his name were written by a ghostwriter being paidA ten bucks per Facebook post.
As it turns out, Takei's use of outside help for his social media work isn't unique among celebrities. If you've ever wondered how Sarah Palin managed to translate her complicated relationship with the English language into coherent long-form Facebook posts, or how the mayor of America's largest city finds time to post several times a day, the answer probably points to a professional social media ghostwriter.A In fact, public figures ranging from Britney Spears to Kanye West to Barack Obama have admitted to using paid professional help to maintain their social media profiles.
"At this point of having worked in this industry for a few years, I just assume that everyone has a ghostwriter," said Oriana Leckert, the director of operations atA Gotham Ghostwriters, a NYC-based firm that pairs professional ghostwriters with clients ranging from corporate to professional to celebrity. "Whenever someone sounds drastically more coherent in a tweet then they do in person, they probably had some help."
Gotham matches writers with celebrity or corporate clients for long-term arrangements that pay the writer to produce a specific number of blogs, posts, or tweets per day. Her firm chooses from a vast stable of writers to find ones who understand the culture and voice of the particular client. For example, a writer with a hip-hop background probably wouldn't be retained to tweet for a pharmaceutical exec (although that might have a fresh sound).
Ghostposting deals are nearly always involve writing for multiple social platforms. When a celebrity or the celeb's "people" hire a ghostposter, they are looking for someone to mimic and project their client's voice across the digital spectrum. This was the situation Anna (whose name we've changed to protect her identity), a Brooklyn-based writer who spent 18 months ghostwriting for a "pretty ubiquitous B-list star," found herself in.