David Mullen has a great post on social media's gray areas and how agencies are tackling them with their clients. I think this is a topic worthy of discussion and I'm not sure how much it's brought up at different agencies.
I am personally squarely in the camp of not having ghost writers. New social networking tools have changed the way the world communicates- not just how brands communicate, but also how individuals communicate.
When I send a message to a 'friend' on Facebook, I expect that the response that comes from that person is actually from them- not their aunt, or their brother, or their boss. When I send a direct message to someone on Twitter, I expect the same. Most people I know started using social networking tools in their personal lives, well before people tried to start using them for business.
I was lucky to be at one of the first schools to have Facebook. When it first started making its way across campus, the excitement was genuine. And that's because people were connecting with each other. They were making friends, joining groups and clubs, learning. The point is that it was raw and real. I never believed that someone I 'friended' was anyone but themselves.
I think that the way people have come to engage on social platforms necessitates this sense of rawness. If I'm going to read something on a corporate blog or Facebook page or Twitter account, I expect that what's coming out is from that brand, not their agency. What helps people connect with others, whether it's another person or a brand is that sense of rawness. It's not just about authenticity- you can have authenticity without having rawness. It's pointing out a great movie you just saw or a super hilarious LOLcat that you just had to share. It's being able to take a joke about yourself or your brand and then being able to dish one right back. If you have someone else pushing out content who doesn't eat, sleep, and live your brand, how are you going to get that?
I think the decision ultimately rests with the client, but if I'm a good agency person, I know what I'm recommending. Where do you stand?