Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 13 News List

Straight from the horse’s mouth. Almost

Celebrities have long used ghostwriters for autobiographies and other acts of self-aggrandizement. Now they are letting them loose on social networking sites like Twitter

By Noam Cohen  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

He said that in a rare few cases, however, supporters would read in more meaning to the online relationship than was there. “On a bunch of social-networking sites, we would get some sincere written notes, that would say ‘thank you for letting me be your friend,’” he recalled.

Many online commentators are appalled at the practice of enlisting ghost-Twitterers, but Joseph Nejman, a former consultant to Britney Spears who helped conceive her Web strategy, said there was a more than a whiff of hypocrisy among critics.

“It’s OK to tweet for a brand,” he said, noting how common it is for companies to have Twitter accounts, “but not OK for a celebrity. But the truth is, they are a brand. What they are to the public is not always what they are behind the curtain. If the manager knows that better than the star, then they should do it.”

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