Flogs, Now Fweets?

First we had “flogs,” fake blogs or flack blogs that were inauthentic PR vehicles for companies. Now we may have occasion for a new term (“fake Tweet” — “fweet”)  that refers to a similar phenomenon on Twitter: creation of a stream of Tweets by other than the person representing him or herself as the author:


This is happening with celebrities who appear to Tweet, but use ghost writers or subordinates to actually do the writing. According to the NY Times

[S]omeone has to do all that writing, even if each entry is barely a sentence long. In many cases, celebrities and their handlers have turned to outside writers — ghost Twitterers, if you will — who keep fans updated on the latest twists and turns, often in the star’s own voice.

Because Twitter is seen as an intimate link between celebrities and their fans, many performers are not willing to divulge the help they use to put their thoughts into cyberspace.

Britney Spears recently advertised for someone to help, among other things, create content for Twitter and Facebook. Kanye West recently told New York magazine that he has hired two people to update his blog. “It’s just like how a designer would work,” he said.

Does it matter that the person who owns the Twitter feed is not the author of the Tweets?


5 Responses to “Flogs, Now Fweets?”

  1. joemescher Says:

    Yes, it matters. But not for the reason you think…

    Celebrities like Britney Spears – who is completely transparent about who is doing the posting – indemnify them against rogue staffers, and they encourage a more loyal following with their honesty.

    Twitter users, and social media mavens in general, are keen at spotting fakes, so in the end celebri-tweeters risk tarnishing their brand image (no matter how slightly) by appearing inauthentic.

    Shaq said it best:

    “It’s 140 characters. It’s so few characters. If you need a ghostwriter for that, I feel sorry for you.”

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    It’s not the number of characters it’s the required update frequency. Agree with the brand tarnishing.

  3. Devin Davis Says:

    There’s definitely an issue of dedication (and, thusly, time spent) when it comes to the celebrity side.

    As far as whether it matters or not – I think Joe hit the nail on the head – if you’re transparent, it’s OK. In that regard, it’s not dissimilar to a publicist or a spokesperson. These are an expected part of the celebrity machine.

    In essence, I think this works with a legitimate national celebrity. But if, for example, it came to light that the CEO for Zappos wasn’t actually tweeting himself, he would lose both followers and respect…

  4. Perry Says:

    Followers on Twitter are becoming more and more onlookers, not friends. The more this scales (which it has ever sign of happening) the behavior begins to take on the profile of a loosely coupled market instead of a circle of friends. It’s a weird dynamic, and one that is definitely “in motion”.

    With the incredible buzz being put on Twitter as a way to interact with public figures in general (CNN, Fox, etc.), it is definitely going to be a “calibrated conversation”.

    It will be interesting to see the impact of this growing spread between the circle of connections on FB (a much closer proxy for friends) and Twitter.

  5. Peter Says:

    Came accros a cool website http://www.flogs.com a total new meaning of Flogs!

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