How many people does it take to compose a tweet? That depends who it’s for. At Farringdon social media agency We Are Social, 15 writers and editors work with account managers, researchers and strategists to create tweets for clients including Heinz and Evian. Each day starts with a ‘newsroom’. The morning headlines are discussed and talking points chosen. Then the writers pen engaging updates. These of-the-moment posts supplement others planned up to a month in advance. ‘The researchers compile profiles of each client’s customer; we find the correct tone of voice,’ explains writer Charlotte Miller, 23. Starting salaries in the sector are around £19,000, with managers earning around £35,000. It’s not just brands hiring ghost tweeters. Pilar Nalwimba, a 27-year-old former marketing coordinator, runs My Social Media PA, which she founded in June 2012, from a shared office in Croydon. She’s paid by musicians and DJs, as well as local businesses and entrepreneurs, to tweet on their behalf, charging £10 to £25 per hour. She sends a minimum of three to five tweets a day, as well as working on blog updates and social media strategy, among other things. The keys to a winning ghost tweet? Authenticity — ‘You need to speak the client’s language,’ says Nalwimba — and discretion. ‘People don’t necessarily want others knowing that they don’t write their own tweets.’
Social Media Censor
Rihanna and Scout Willis had their accounts suspended earlier this year after falling foul of Instagram’s no-nudity rules. But who decides what goes and what doesn’t? Instagram and Facebook combine in-house moderation with work done by contractors in Europe and Asia. At Tumblr, trust and safety manager Nicole Blumenfeld, a former lawyer, heads a team of 11. They’re alerted to problematic photos by users and make decisions according to the site’s ‘community guidelines’. ‘We usually allow nudity, but if your private photos are posted by someone else, we’d take those down.’ Posts promoting self-harm and copyright infringement are other no-gos. ‘You see things that aren’t pretty,’ says Blumenfeld.
Ever noticed a rude comment on a forum that suddenly disappears? That will be the site’s troll hunters — sorry, moderators — at work. ‘We review content, reacting according to the site rules,’ explains Kelda Wallis of Tempero, which moderates for the BBC, The New York Times and ChildLine among others. ‘On news sites, we might look for defamation or contempt of court; on children’s forums we make sure no one’s bullying or giving away personal details, and keep a close eye out for grooming.’ Repeat offenders may be blocked, though some are persistent: ‘I had a troll on one forum, we’d block him and he’d come back with a new username.’ The Clerkenwell-based company has more than 100 moderators, who mainly work from home. Most are full-time, but some actors and writers use it to supplement their income. Average rates are £10 to £12 per hour.