With all the chatter about ghost blogging, ghost writing and otherwise ghostifying in the blogosphere last week, I’ve been thinking about how this applies to what you’re reading right now. What would you think if I told you I haven’t been writing my own blogs this whole time? That whole story about wearing the Headless Horseman costume in our staff meeting
? True, but someone else put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) and hashed out a blog about it. Or what if I told you Experience Manager Adam was too busy actually making 25 gallons of apple butter
to write about it, so I wrote it for him?
Let’s be honest: none of that would make sense, and it’s not true. First, who would write a blog for a marketing assistant? Second, Adam obviously would have made at least 50 gallons of apple butter.
Joking aside, when Lindsay Manfredi, ghost blogger and founder of Linzstar, Inc.
, brought up the topic on her own blog last week
, the Indy-ghost-blogging pot was officially stirred. Comments, blogs in response and enough tweets to feed a small twitterverse ensued—and for all these I am, in the spirit of the forthcoming holiday, thankful. They got me thinking. Would I ghost blog? Would anyone ever let me? (Probably not…) However, whether you enjoy and make a living ghost blogging, like Manfredi, or contest it’s lying unless there’s some identification of who the actual authors are, like TrendyMinds
PR pro Elizabeth Friedland explained in her follow-up blog
, I have to ask: does it even make sense for your company?
And the fact is that at Conner Prairie, on this staff blog, it doesn’t. Do I ghost write? Of course. Just last Friday I composed a memo addressed to our employees that was signed with someone else’s name. I’ll do the same when I submit an award nomination soon that will come from someone who didn’t write it.
But when it comes to our blog, each post is so personal, so representative of the experiences of each individual, I don’t believe anyone could express those better than the person who encountered them. I’m not saying anything positive or negative about the quality or reach of our content. In fact, I’m not even saying anything about my personal views on ghost writing and ghost blogging. I am saying you can count on this blog to share stories from different parts of the prairie, written by the person whose name is stamped at the bottom.
What do you think? What level of transparency would you expect or insist from Conner Prairie’s blog? From other companies’ blogs? What about internal communications or media relations?
Any other Tuesday morning, I would have hip-hopped in to work around 8:30, filled my mug with coffee (not without flavored creamer) while my computer was warming up, then sorted through a variety of urgent and not-so-urgent requests amid a mass of Google Alerts in my inbox.
But this Tuesday wasn’t just any Tuesday.
First: I remembered to wake up early for our Conner Prairie all-staff meeting at 8:00 a.m. This is critical, as I’ve been known to overlook these meetings altogether from time to time. Second: Apple cider and pumpkin donuts from the Apple Store were present at said meeting. Need I say more? Third: I encountered the opportunity of a lifetime.
In case it’s been unclear, the part of my job description that dictates “other duties as assigned” often leads me in the direction of fascinating, fun and nonsensical at times. Last winter, I “auditioned” to be the Gingerbread Man, which you can watch here. More recently, I spent time with the crew that created History Rising, a documentary chronicling the development of 1859 Balloon Voyage.
And this very special Tuesday, I donned the costume, carried the (plastic) sword and became, for one short staff meeting … the Headless Horseman!
While “Kimberly, I’ll buy you lunch if you’ll do me this favor…” may not sound like I’m in for anything good, the opportunity to gallivant around a staff meeting as the Headless Horseman is, naturally, too remarkable to pass up.
I may be the only Headless Horseman in Conner Prairie history to wear a pearl necklace and peep-toe, patent leather heels, but I gained substantial new respect for the folks who wear this costume for hours. And ride horses wearing it! In the dark! For a peek behind the mask of one of the real Headless Horseman riders, check out this short Prairie Pod: Under the Mask.
Want to learn more about the Headless Horseman? I have just the quiz for you … How much does the costume weigh? How many riders take on the role throughout Conner Prairie’s Headless Horseman event? Test your knowledge with this hair-raising Headless Horseman quiz.
And if you’re ready for some real spooks and scares, come out to Conner Prairie for Headless Horseman, which starts this Friday night. For all the frightfully fun details and spine-chilling specifics (and more alarming alliteration...), visit connerprairie.org.