Why Would You Ever Want to Outsource Your Voice?

Chuck Palahniuk doesn't tweet for himself.

I had intended to write a post about how unfortunate it is that one of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, doesn’t do his own tweets, because I wanted to share, enthusiastically, that I love his new book, Damned. My immediate feeling, upon reading the little bio on his Twitter account, which points out that his account is managed by Dennis Widmyer, was that it stunk. Here I am, yet another paying member of the “cult of Chuck,” and the idea of me telling Dennis this is about as useful as me turning to the person next to me at this conference and saying, “I really love Damned. It really has a great texture.”

But then there’s Ashton Kutcher

I just read that Ashton Kutcher is giving up the running of his own Twitter account. This all came because he said something that accidentally turned out to be bad. But this is nuts, right? He has developed a voice online, where people want to interact with him, and he’s willing to turn it over to people on his staff?

Why would you ever want to outsource your voice?

Your blog, your social media presence, all this online stuff – it’s your voice to the world. Say what you will about him, but Kanye West did it right. He bypassed any reporters, any PR people, anyone that got in the way of him wanting to have his say unfiltered, and he brought his voice to Twitter to apologize to Taylor Swift.

There are so many situations where you don’t get a voice, where you’re not able to communicate in a way that others might see or hear what you’re saying. You have so many opportunities to be invisible and unheard. Why would you give away your few chances to actually be heard and on your own terms and in your own words?

Keep Your Voice

I feel the same about companies who use others to tweet and maintain their social presence. It’s not a model I am fond of, because to me, it’s setting up a relationship-by-proxy. If you want ghost-writers for your blog, why not just identify them as “staff writers” and call it good? If you want a Twitter account that’s not your voice, then talk in the 3rd person and never as if you’re that person.

But no, I’m not especially down with the giving away of one’s voice. Why are some people, do you think? Why is it okay for Chuck and Ashton to hand their voice over to some other person? Not enough time? Too big? There are few exceptions to my thoughts on this, the Dalai Lama being one, and who knows? Maybe I shouldn’t even give him a pass, but I’m a recent convert to Buddhism, so maybe that’s why it’s okay.

What are your thoughts?

And Chuck? Ashton? Please take back your voice. Please?

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  • Tanya

    So true what you said Chris – at least if people feel they are too busy to do their own communications they should be transparent about it! It’s a weird phenomenon which has crept in with our social media and blogging culture isn’t it. You wouldn’t go to a Lady Gaga concert and be OK with someone completely different coming on and singing her songs. You wouldn’t go to a Terry Pratchett book signing and reading session, and enjoy someone else ‘standing in’ for the day!
    If it’s a group effort – with a social media manager, or with guest bloggers or a blogging team – that should be made clear!

    If folks can’t handle the pressure of having their own true voice in these channels – maybe they shouldn’t be using them?!
    Tanya Smith (and yes – this IS my own comment lol )

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Thank GOODNESS this is really you, Tanya. Wouldn’t want to be disappointed. : ) 

  • http://www.SimplyUniqueBabyGifts.com/ Pat Graham-Block

    Voices online have “energy” just like voices offline do. Hiring someone else to speak for you can be riskier than BEing yourself or not posting at all.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    I would rather the voice be the authentic person even if they are only able to post once a month.  Twitter can be such an intimate view into the life and personality of person.  Even feeds where the person is on infrequently are valuable in my opinion.

    I’m with you Chris.  Be you… Be the original you.

    Thanks for a great thought to start the day.

    Ryan H.

  • http://rickmanelius.com Rick Manelius

    Voice does not always carry through from one medium to another. When I was still in college, I knew many professors who could do a wonderful job writing books and articles, but would fail miserably when up on a stage.

    The same is true in reverse. Today, I work with some clients who are great on stage, decent at writing books, but just have no real familiarity with twitter/facebook/etc. Some are willing to learn and some simply just can’t wrap their head around it.

    Should they try? Absolutely. But there are times when it might make more sense to get some help because a person’s communication skills may not be great in that arena.

    Remember  C.C. Chapman’s post about how Ragu hates dads? Yeah… that’s where it might be better to just hand over the reigns!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      No doubt about that, Rick. Lots of professors are brilliant on paper and terrifying at the lectern. 

      As for the Ragu thing, wasn’t that an agency?  

      • http://rickmanelius.com Rick Manelius

        Maybe the agency should’ve subbed that out to a high schooler :) 

        Good point. I wonder how much of it was the agency’s doing and how much of it was based on the direction and/or restrictions placed on them by Ragu…

      • daily news

         Yes u r right.

  • http://www.jonathanvaudreuil.com/ Jonathan Vaudreuil

    I agree – to a point.

    If we’re talking about a platform like Twitter or a personal blog (including within a company, such as a “Engineering’s Corner”), then I agree 100%. Outsourcing those makes little sense because that’s what people are looking for.

    However, if we’re talking about content or PR in general I disagree. Heck, if you’re not the founder of a company writing for your site then it doesn’t matter who writes the content – you’re getting an outsider’s perspective. Every employee is outsourced by the founder in some way or another. How involved in a company do you need to be to produce interesting content about what’s going on in an industry, or PR updates?

    Personal needs to stay personal for sure, and that’s a huge thing to remember.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      In this case, I’m discussing the very specific individual voices at any level. I’m saying, “If your twitter account reads ‘Jonathan Vaudreuil,’ then I want and expect YOU to be the one tweeting me.” 

      As far as PR and writers writing on behalf of the company at large, I *do* most DEFINITELY want them to identify as staff writers or something similar. I do NOT want them to just blend in as if they’re people working at the organization. Might be a preference. We’ll find out. 

      I presume you’re in PR? 

      • http://www.jonathanvaudreuil.com/ Jonathan Vaudreuil

        Good guess, as it’s close. My company does create different kinds of content and updates for our clients, as well as other SEO consulting.

        Even though I’m one of the Sales Managers, I am still surprised when a client wants us to create content for a personal blog as opposed us writing industry news, PR, white papers, e-newsletters, etc.

  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    Voice of others and thoughts of yours is not the good thing for you and also for your web presence. As sometime the risk of by your own name , the other person started to get the benefit and can cheat you then what you do! And apart from this that the name of yours but if the other person represent it in well manner then people are going to know the representatives and not to the original person behind the scene. So always think twice or thrice before represent your voice in the form of another person.

  • Steve Woodruff

    You can outsource “content” publication. But not self-disclosure, and certainly not a relationship. The proof will be in the pudding, but it’s hard to imagine many people will be engaged with a proxy. In how many other human relationships would that end well? :>}

  • http://twitter.com/alanweinkrantz Alan Weinkrantz

    I love the term, relationship-by-proxy…. enough said.

  • http://hannahsharvest.com Hannah Marcotti

    I heard Oprah say the other day that all tweets are hers. I loved her just a little bit more.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisjkeaton Chris Keaton

    Right on…..it’s not karaoke.

  • Susanella

    Hmmm, if Chuck & Dennis approached it like a secretary used to (remember them?!) — if Dennis were a secretary for Chuck, then do you approve? It seems to me that your tweet to Chuck might have a better chance of being seen and responded to if Dennis were filtering and helping manage the onslaught of activity, posts etc. That way, Chuck could concentrate on other things. If Aston has his PR agent filter his tweets and someone else presses “send” … is that disingenuous?

    • Susanella


    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I dunno. I just don’t know. Still thinking it over. You really raise some good points. 

  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    I always tweet for myself. I also do my own thinking. I have a friend who is an interior designer who reached out to me for help with Twitter. I told him I would not tweet for him, I have been showing him how to use Twitter and he is very resistant.

    I told him Twitter will not work for him if he does not use his voice. The things I tweet are not the same things he would tweet about.

    As far as having someone else tweet for you – I think that is an incredible level of lazy. Ashton Kutcher could have checked to see why Joe Paterno was trending on Twitter and the news. Instead he was lazy and shoved his foot in his mouth. The best thing to do here is apologize, and stop being lazy. It takes only a minute to check a trending topic on Twitter, so claiming he did not know is nonsense.

    As far as a company goes, many of them don’t have one person tweeting, so I guess I can see the logic for them in hanging out behind a logo. It might not thrill me, but I at least understand why it would be done.

    Anyone outsourcing a personal Twitter is beyond lazy, and to me I lose tons of respect and trust goes right out the window for me. I want to tweet to the REAL you, not someone who plays you on Twitter.

  • http://bit.ly/qXCn0D Konrad Rutten

    To affirm your point, When President  Obama came on Twitter, I thought that was amazing . It’s not what you say, nor how you say it, it how you make people feel …

    Or as David Lee Roth said : It’s not weather you win or lose, it how you looked doing it.

  • Brigittawhite

    Well I really like this topic.  I’m just confused because a few months ago I was reading here that outsourcing on social media will be very important.  It was something along the lines of, small business owners will pay others to tweet, etc..  Perhaps since life is fluid, the latter can fluctuate.  It is helpful to have that help, but I really connect with what you are saying about “your voice”. Any tips or clarity that you can offer?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I most certainly never said that one would outsource their personal voice. You’d amaze me if you found that. 

      What can be outsourced? Community management. Staff writing efforts (labeled as such). Analytics. There are plenty of touchpoints that aren’t exactly “voice-tied,” if that makes sense. 

      • Brigittawhite

        Thank you Chris.  That is super helpful.  I appreciate your tips in clarifying these concepts.  You are the best!

  • Adrienne Fletcher

    I find this topic very interesting and worth a deeper look since as marketers, we often are writing as the “voice” of our clients. It would be a great comparison to compare the voice of an individual versus a company/organization and look at the idea of authenticity. 

  • http://my168project.co Matches Malone

    I don’t think Kanye is a good example, simply because he shouldn’t have done what he did in the first place, to merit an apology.

    I do agree with the rest of the post, however. Now, the question is, in all the various places I post, have I created several different voices, or is it one particular aspect of the same voice?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      You don’t think people deserve to make mistakes and then apologize for them? Fascinating. 

      • http://my168project.co Matches Malone

        No, I’m simply stating that in this specific case, Kanye shouldn’t have done what he did. In general I do believe in failing spectacularly, and then apologizing if necessary.

        Furthermore, he could’ve waited until an interview, and said the same thing, actually. I think it would’ve been done with more class that way. At which point, he may not have needed to apologize for expressing his opinion.

        Or, put another way, how would you like it if during one of your talks, I got up, grabbed a microphone and stated in front of God and everybody, “I’m a let you finish, but I think Christoper Penn is the greatest speaker of all time!!!”


  • http://www.donaldlafferty.com/about Don Lafferty

    Didn’t I just read something you wrote called “After the Kumbaya”?

    You bring up two very different animals in making your point, bud. I agree with you about Palahniuk; if he’s not going to do it himself, he shouldn’t even be on Twitter, but…

    As you know, I work with a number of authors. A couple of them have Palahniuk-like readerships (talking numbers here, not necessarily body art). Many of the authors I work with are on FB and Twitter because their publishers want the channel open, and done so in the best way possible – under the circumstances. MANY of them have a family member, assistant or PR company managing their feeds, even if it means calling the author up and asking them what they want to say. Engagement is all over the map in these cases.

    Your other example, Ashton the Boy Wonder, is a very different case altogether, especially considering the shitstorm his employer has just been through with the guy Kutcher replaced. Especially considering the fact that Kutcher is being pounded in the tabloids by his recent infidelity, never a good thing.

    Now consider, for a moment that the PTC (Parent’s Television Council) has already taken on Two and a Half Men, and through a campaign of targeting their sponsors, dramatically narrowed their available market of ad dollars based on “family values”.

    While you know I completely agree with the spirit of your bit here, I imagine the Two and a Half Men damage control crew had one long, sleepless night after finding out their new boy had intimated that he supported a guy who may eventually be proven to have enabled a child molester for the past 9 years.

    Context, buddy. TV Land stopped singing Kumbaya a looooong time ago.

    Much love.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I don’t get it. Why does it matter how many people follow someone? 

      Why would it matter if people attack him or not? Should he have advisors? Absolutely. Does that mean he should hand over the keys? I can’t buy it. 

  • http://jenfongspeaks.com Jennifer Fong

    You know, I have voiced this very opinion many times before I actually started doing this for brands. I still think it’s the best case scenario to tweet, etc. for yourself. But on the other hand, it takes a LOT of time to build engagement. Part of the reason we’re so interested in people is because of what else they do. We want to hear from them because of things besides their ability to engage on Twitter. For example, Ashton Kutcher from above has a LOT going on. And if they’re spending SO much time engaging on Twitter, they don’t have time for the other stuff that we’re really interested in. So as long as someone is involved in the editorial calendar, and has the ability to share what they’re thinking about should they choose to, I think some of the day to day can be outsourced. 

    If you’re really popular online (like you, Chris) it may be hard to remember what it’s like to put content out to the universe and be completely ignored. Even if it’s great, value-driven content. It still takes a lot of time and effort to build traction. And that keeps you from doing other valuable work.

    I just think there needs to be a level of practicality built in with this opinion. It’s not simply a black and white issue.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      If you’re managing a brand, like a sandwich product or something, I could care less who tweets about it. If you’re part of a corporation, I think.. I dunno. I really feel like I want something from the company, not the trained monkeys. 

      Building traction does take time. Steroids make it easier to play professional sports. 

      • http://jenfongspeaks.com Jennifer Fong

        Well I don’t know…I like to think I’m a bit more entertaining that your average trained monkey… :)

  • http://www.lookingformarketingjobs.com/ John Thomas

    I agree it sucks, but every business owner is told “you have to have a website”, ‘you have to do social media”. For those in this business it seems reasonable to do it, those outside its impossible. Outsourcing it is a smart move for these people.

    I think for writers like Chuck, blogging and twitter take away from what they are suppose to be doing, writing books. For companies, what CEO has the time? 
    Great post!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      My answer to the question is always the same: “what CEO has the time to engage with prospects and encourage new streams of revenue?” 

  • http://bensleygram.blogspot.com/ Skip Bensley

    I thought tweeting was about being authentic whether it be for better or worse? I think if you are outsourcing your tweets and you acknowledge it however, the follower is encouraged then to vote with their feet. 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I’m not sure that’s true any more. Tweeting is just another method of posting information. It’s probably more true that we value an authentic (however we want to write it up) interaction. But that’s less true, I think. The whole “conversation” thing. 

  • http://socialdeviants.blogspot.com/ janet

    Amen! How in the world do you outsource relationships, authenticity and trust? For realz.

  • http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com Owen McGab Enaohwo

    To me Social Media sites are indeed a marketing platform through which we socially get people to do the following in this order;

    1) Get folks to Know Us by simply sharing useful and actionable content that is helpful to them and shows our expertise. It can be either our content and/or curated content that we think is interesting, relevant and worth sharing.

    2) Get folks to Like Us, this to me is where your personality and creativity comes into play, as in you show what makes you different from everyone out there. Or it could be what makes your brand (company) different.

    3) Get folks to Trust Us, you can’t buy trust, you can earn it and like all meaningful relationship this will take some time and effort.

    4) Get folks to Try our product/service by offering free consultation sessions, free trials and so forth as long as it makes sense for your niche. All you want is for folks on social media sites to take the next possible step into your marketing funnel.

    5) Get folks to Buy our product/service (<<<— well if you have gone through step 1 to 4 and your stuff rocks they will buy if you ask them to buy (<<<— people like to be lead and if you don't ask the will not buy)). 

    6) Get folks to Re-order by selling a product/service that they will need over and over again or by simply adopting the Software as a Service (SAAS) model and have implied recurring payments (<<<— what's the fun in spending the time to build the relationship only to sell to them once?).

    7) Get Testimonials from folks because you need all the Social Proof you can get (<<<— I tend to prefer videos). And when you get the testimonial flaunt the heck out of it because you deserve it). 

    8) Get folks to Refer Us by making the conscious effort to ask your happy and Wowed clients / customers for an explicit referral to someone they know.

    All these 8 steps are what Social Media Marketing should be about and some folks just stop at steps 1, 2, and 3 forgetting to do the "Marketing part".

    So now to the elephant in the room (<<<— should you outsource your voice on Social Media Sites?)

    I say yes but only when it makes sense. As an entrepreneur you already wear so many hats and cannot do everything yourself hence the reason why delegation was created in the first place. Once you know the rules of the game (<<<— in this case the specific Social Media platform) then you can create a framework and system for your team members (<<<— employees or Virtual Assistants) to abide by when communicating with folks on Social Media Sites. As in you can create process / workflow that outlines how you do each of the 8 steps I have mentioned above in such a way that it is unique and in your voice or in the voice of the company (<<<– your brand).

    Do sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn take up valuable time? YES they do! Do you have all the time in the world especially when you already wear so many hats in your business and juggle different responsibilities? NO you don't!

    So your social media marketing efforts should be outsourced. Set up the necessary parameters and guidelines for folks to follow on your behalf. Also make sure that it is fully disclosed when someone else is communicating with your fans and followers on your behalf so that it is authentic. Zappos does something similar, they have a bunch of customer reps who rotate shifts on social media sites and they announce when their shift is over so that folks listening are aware that someone else is Wowing them!

    That said as the CEO of your company from time to time go on social media sites and personally engage with the audience.At the end of the day social media sites are a "social marketing platform" on which you get folks to go through the 8 steps that I mentions above.
    Cheers and please feel free to agree or disagree! (<<<— over to you Chris and everyone else who has been awesome to have read my longest blog comment so far – you Rock!)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Holy cow. You BLOGGED. : ) 

      I actually like this progression. It makes sense but I rarely see people write it all out as such. I dunno. People are starting to make me see there’s a time for someone to manage your account. But then… um…. I just don’t know. Would YOU do it for you? 

      • http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com Owen McGab Enaohwo

        Yes I will outsource it, right now I am researching several companies to whom I can outsource my social media marketing efforts to. That said, I will still be very actively engaging folks who have questions containing my core keywords (<<<— folks who potentially can become my clients once they follow the 8 steps I mentioned above).

        I am now  working on ramping up video content marketing for my site and also thinking of automating parts of the sharing process as well. Why post a link to my content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ only once after spending so much time to create it in the first place? (<<<— TV stations have re-runs of shows we all love over and over again so why can't I do it?). The only issue now will be to find a schedule for reposting links to my content that does not drive my followers mad (<<<— this will vary based on the specific Social Media platform and how folks make use of them). The counter argument to automating the process is that if the content is so good people will share it. Well, my counter to that counter is that in order for a snowflake to roll down a mountain and become a huge snowball it needs a little push (<<<— and that's what the automation will do).

        Dude thanks for responding to my comments, I finally get to meet you! 

  • http://exciramedia.com Shannon Steffen

    Well said, Chris! Too often my clients come to me to help them find someone to be their voice online. My advice has and will always be for them to find an internal resource within the company to act as their voice. No one knows their products as well as they do and no one outside the company can engage their customers in a way that builds the brand and relationship.

  • http://twitter.com/megfowler Meg Fowler

    It’s the funny thing about social media: everyone tells you to be authentic, but what if your authentic self is an asshole / insensitive / hotheaded, etc.? The reality is, if you fake a personality that people will “like” and develop a following as a result, you’ll slip up sooner or later and reveal the “real you.” Better to own it from the beginning.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Then I would say be an insensitive asshole. Wouldn’t you? 

  • http://www.strategiclearner.wordpress.com John E. Smith

    Hi, Chris – thanks for the post.

    This is definitely about authenticity, as many have already pointed out.  It’s also a little about the cult of personality in our society, which sometimes punishes those who do not live up to our self-created idealizations of who they are.  

    Yes, the person posting or in any way putting themselves out there on social media needs to be honest and authentic.

    But we have to be mature enough to deal with people from a human basis and allow that rock star to say something stupid every once in a while.

    Hmmm … now that I think about it, what about sexist, racist, or other forms of communicating unacceptable views?   Maybe this “treat others like humans” thing is more complicated than I originally thought.

    Thanks for firing up the neurons this sunny morning in the heartland:)


    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      You’re not wrong, John. I am definitely suggesting that Chuck wasn’t quite living up to my hope. Certainly makes me think. 

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Another reason (for many of us) to give the Dalai Lama a pass is he doesn’t speak english very well. 

    Although, he does have a great sense of humor – and it would be nice to experience more of that. :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Would love that. Agreed. Imagine? 

  • http://www.clickandinc.com/blog Sarah

    It seems like people are turning over their Twitter presence to staff for the same reasons Twitter makes me uncomfortable in the first place — the potential to slip up and say something to the entire world that maybe wouldn’t have been said in a venue that isn’t so knee-jerk reactive. I prefer blogs — crafting what I want to say very purposefully, reviewing it, checking it over for tone, meaning, and grammar — to any stream-of-consciousness blunt outburst. 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      People can slip up anywhere. I just want them to apologize and keep going. 

  • http://www.dustinchristensen.net dustin

    As a writer and avid book reader, it disappoints me to see Chuck P. have his Twitter account ran for him. For me, it depends on what industry/field the person/business is in. I like to see a business or large, impersonal organization outsource their voice because they are held to a higher level of PR, professionalism and political correctness. But in something inherently creative and personal like writing (or any creative arts – music, in the case of Kanye West), I think it can cause an impersonal distance between followers and followed. And as a fan of creative arts, that’s a big turn off in social media. I don’t want to get to know your PR team, I want to see what you have to offer. 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      With individuals, I just want people to be themselves. Must just be me. : ) 

  • Jack Lynady

    Maybe because Twitter is a broadcast station for u, Ashton, and whoever that other guy is. It may have been social at one time, but I don’t see it now. For those with Big followings, just hand it over to the PR people. I am okay with that.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Interesting. So now it’s just a news feed? 

      • Jack Lynady

        Yes and No. It’s how u use it. But I will say when I see someone with 300k-1million followers and follows only 275 people. For me that person is a broadcast station. I don’t expect them to look at my stream or engage me personally so I am okay if they are just having their “people” do their tweets. I actually expect that.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Hi Stwo (is that like “Stu” but cooler? And I mean the cooler part.) – 

    So, my point is, then don’t have a Twitter account. Know what I mean? Make it more like: “Chuck’s book guy” account or something. Ditto Eminem, etc, etc, etc. 

    And I think you’re right that Chuck does incredible work ELSEWHERE. I’m just saying, if you’re not going to be somewhere, don’t be there. 

    However, I might be wrong. 

    • http://BeerDiplomacyTV.com Stwo

      I see your point.  I’m just not 100% sure it is completely necessary.  By disclosing in the bio that it comes from a rep, I think it is OK that he doesn’t speak for himself on Twitter. Unfortunately, as made clear by Ashton’s mishap, people of a certain public grandeur have to be super careful what they say.  Its not like if you and I had a conversation over a beer and I said something off-color, which rubbed you the wrong way, and had the ability to clarity or even immediately recant my statement.  There’s a HUGE public out there holding people immediately accountable for all of their words.  

      Having heard Chuck speak on multiple occasions, AND having read all of  his books, he’d probably be burned at the stake if he shared his thoughts on Twitter.  

      We live in a time where the public can be brutally unforgiving, & that anger can become  dangerously virulent.  It is important to both have a public presence on all networks possible AND be super careful with what is broadcast from those outlets.  From a marketing standpoint, it is probably better to be there (on Twitter) than not. We all know you’ve got to go where the consumers are. (Why else would businesses be on Facebook?)  Would I too prefer if it were really Chuck behind those tweets?  Of course!  Do I fault him, or his publisher for doing otherwise, no.  

      Once again, super cool to be having this dialogue.  Keep making us think, Chris!

    • http://BeerDiplomacyTV.com Stwo

      Oh, and yes.  Stwo is Stu… but both cool!  Super cool! 

  • Stephen

    I strongly believe that Chuck P. already has a unique voice that he utilizes to interact with his readers – his novels. His books are readily available and they say a lot to many of the people who choose to read them. Writers, Artists, Musicians, creative people in general often utilize their art as a way to interact with their world, other people, and the human condition. 

    A lot of people are using twitter for a lot of different reasons and in a lot of different ways. There is not a list of user guidelines that come when you sign up for the site, there is no rulebook for who should and shouldn’t be allowed to use the website for what. Twitter is only a website. Twitter does not necessarily equal authenticity, truth, or any of the other very complex concepts that I’m reading about in these comments. Twitter is merely a website that some people use in different ways than others. To watch you call Chuck P. lazy simply because he chooses not to use that website makes me feel kind of sick. 

    I agree that Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama can be very funny. If you find the things that he has to say humorous, spiritually rewarding, or get any other satisfaction from them, you can absolutely find his writings (which are numerous) translated into whatever language you prefer and they are available on whatever medium or device (book, pdf, audiobook, kindle, etc.) you most enjoy. Additionally his humor is reflected in the anecdotes and teachings passed on by many other Buddhist authors.

    If these writers, or any other person who does anything really, do something you enjoy, by all means try to grab hold of everything they make available to the public. If their personal output doesn’t happen to meet your expectations, by all means, share your disappointment with your friends. I personally wish Brahms had destroyed less compositions and left more for everyone to enjoy. But to start calling someone names because they don’t happen to use the same website you do, or someone is using it on their behalf in a less personal, more business/marketing driven fashion, seems like a less than ideal manner in which to proceed.

  • http://www.lauriehurleyonline.com Laurie Hurley

    Love this and you are so right.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    It’s like Social Media Ventriloquism. I don’ like it, never have. To me, Social Media is supposed to be about relationships, direct lines of communication, and some level of realness.

    I do think it’s okay IF you have a team member who occasionally posts links, etc. but NOT someone else controlling the conversation.

  • kati

    I’m curious about your thoughts on having other people help to grow your community?  i’m with you, i think that if people have something to say, they should pony up and take the time to do it themselves.  but what about delegating the time-consuming process of marketing your message?  does this need to come from the author, or sometimes is it more effective to pass this part on to others who have this particular skill and passion?

  • Joanna Merson

    Yep. It reminds me of Twitter power users unfollowing all their followers and blaming it on spam and being hard to manage. 

    Like your phrase “relationship by proxy”. These followers you unfollowed were customers. Bought your books. Clicked your affiliate links. Yet you turned them all away.

    Is that any different from what Ashton and Chuck are doing? I’d say no – because at least they never screwed over their followers.

  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    Good suggestion. I like this post very much. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Anonymous

    Very thought provoking.  Thank you for sharing.

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  • http://www.cuponismo.com Geordie Wardman

    Boooo to Ashton. He was someone I admired in Hollywood. An apparently smart guy, doing things his way a la Punk’d, married to a beautiful older woman, showed to me he didn’t care. Now the cheating, and this suspect denial saying that he didn’t know about the full story of the firing of JP. Come on, a guy as connected as him not knowing the full story? Giving up Twitter sounds like a good idea, and while he’s at it, seems like he should be taking a look at a few of his other life’s decisions. I expect a lot more from him, dunno, maybe it’s just me but he seemed different, and in a good way. 

  • Shyanrpr

    I agree with you to some extent. I think that if it is a personal account in the persons name then having someone else manage these accounts might cause them to become detached from their audience. But if it is a business with various employees, what difference does it make if it is the owner or anyone else that is intimately acquainted with the business – whether they do it freelance or full time is irrelevant. Ultimately what matters is the materials they post

  • http://twitter.com/jenn_yin_wong Jennifer Wong

    I agree with you that it’s definitely strange that someone would hand off their personal accounts to another person. But it’s the pressure we put on a lot of celebrities and well known people isn’t it? They have to say the right thing or else we’re on them in an instant. I guess it’s because a lot of celebrities have representatives that don’t think that that the celebrity will do a good job, after all its a great way to communicate with your fans. But I think brands need a single voice, with one writer, who is hopefully a  part of the company. Representing a company is a bit different than representing an individual after all.

  • http://twitter.com/Uschi1971 Ursula Bjornson

    Very interesting and provocative.You are right, though!

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    outsourcing voice should be an option when the need arises..

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  • Anonymous

    Chris – I SO hear you on this and I plead with my clients on this very issue…. I’ve discussed it often with larger companies (and even other PR folks) who think an INTERN is capable of handling their Social Media…. why would you put your lowest man on the totem pole in charge of your online voice????

    But alas I’ve come to understand that some of my clients just won’t listen… therefore they’ll hire an outside firm to ‘be them.’   Which never works as far as I can see but I’d love to know some examples of it actually working.

  • http://twitter.com/alexrepola Alex Repola

    How do we know that all these celebrities and CEO’s and “Super” Twitter users are even managing it themselves anyways? Who investigates if it is actually that person Tweeting or someone they have trusted to do it for them? I find it very hard to believe that even 50% off superstars and Fortune 500 CEOs Tweet. This is why my company @webmediaexpert is asked every day to manage companies entire online brand. If it weren’t for organizations like ourselves, working to become industry experts for our clients so we can effectively and efficiently manage their online presence, they wouldn’t be engaging at all. 

    I believe there is a perfect time and place (Ashton, this is for you) to manage a person’s or company’s online brand so that they too can have a presence they may have never had before. There are other times where folks just need the tools and a push in the right direction to handle things themselves. 

  • http://www.theincslingers.com/blog Simon Salt

    I love seeing the responses here that talk about the “managing” of a corporate voice or a celebrity one for that matter as though it were a natural thing to do because after all only an experienced communications professional should be allowed within arms reach of twitter.
    As long as those people exist to instill fear into the uneducated we’ll continue to see companies selling outsourced personality.
    I agree there is nothing wrong with third person accts being managed on behalf of a brand. But when I see examples like this or Ashton Kutcher I immediately think of the Capital One credit card commercial… with the large bearded guy answering the phone in the call center with a vaguely Asian accent and giving his name as Betty!
    For me its the same experience.

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