The Nation’s CEO Has a Ghost-Tweeter

Here’s something that disturbs me, but really should come as no surprise. In remarks to a question in a town hall meeting with Chinese youth, President Obama admitted that he never has used Twitter. He has ghost-tweeters on staff who tweet under his name.

I’ve said before that I believe ghost-tweeting for the CEO is wrong. It’s deceptive because Twitter is a social medium, more personal than a speech or even an executive memo. When you see someone’s name assigned to a tweet, you expect that person is actually doing the tweeting. Twitter is like an online conversation. You wouldn’t let someone sit in for the CEO on a webcast or conference call.

Speechwriting is different. It’s an accepted norm. We all know and understand that President Obama or corporate CEOs don’t usually sit down and write their own speeches. We expect speechwriters spend time with the person who will deliver the speech and then go carefully craft the message. Word choice and cadence are important, so it makes sense to have a speechwriter pay attention to those things.

But when I follow President Obama on Twitter, I should be able to reasonably expect that he is firing off those one-, two- or 15-word messages. I’m bothered by the fact that he’s not on his BlackBerry sending those tweets himself. It seems like a disturbing new standard has been set.

Does anybody else find this news disappointing?