On Inside PR #2.17, Gini Dietrich and I talked about ghost blogging, a subject that has been haunting the blogosphere for a long time. Much has been written about the ethics surrounding it. It’s a debate about authorship and authority. If your name appears on a blog, you should be the person who writes it. Of course there are exceptions, like clearly identified guest posts, but other than that, the ‘rules’ are pretty rigid.
At the risk of unleashing the ire of ghost busters, I wonder if this approach has become too simplistic.
Blogs have moved beyond digital journals to become an effective publishing format. Seth Godin’s recent views on shifting from traditional to electronic publishing tie into this. Social media newsrooms are essentially blog platforms designed to distribute and share content and news without a single author’s point of view. With the confluence of portable digital devices, all-access Wi-Fi and the need to conserve scarce resources (i.e. trees), it’s easy to see how ‘blogger’ could become synonymous with ‘publisher’. A blog house could be the 21st century version of publishing house, home to commercial and non-commercial fiction, non-fiction, humour, travel, cooking, business, text books, anything really – even nameless instruction manuals. Now imagine we add video and real-time conversation to the mix…
I’m not saying we should abandon personal voices and ideas. Far from it. That’s where innovation begins before heading on its circuitous path from indie to establishment.
We should all strive for transparency and authenticity, yet maybe the blog-of-old has outgrown its initial framework and ghost blogging is no longer the issue it once was. Like the printing press, blogs could evolve into the catalyst that reshapes and redefines publishing. Now that’s a bestseller I wouldn’t want to miss!
What do you think?